Nicholas Dodman is head of the animal behaviour clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Using brand new genetic 'chip' technology Dodman is exploring the genetics of common behavioural problems in dogs.
The correlation between particular breeds and specific behaviours has been obvious to observers; Dodman's experiments will uncover the genetic sources of these behaviours. He will initially look at flank sucking in Dobermans, tail chasing in Bull Terriers, and rage in Springer Spaniels.
With selective breeding and documented pedigrees, purebred dogs provide a powerful system for untangling genetic complexities.
While linking human and animal research is problematic, some commentators are hoping that Dodman's research will illuminate human psychiatric probelms such as aggression, self-harm, and obsessive-compulsive behaviour.