Research scientists believe that dogs\u2019 penchant for bin-rummaging could be intrinsically linked with their evolution from the wolf.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nA new study of dog genetics has revealed that numerous genes involved in starch metabolism backs up an idea that some dogs emerged from wolves as a result of digesting scavenged food from early farmers.\r\nArchaeological evidence suggests dogs\u2019 domestication occurred thousands of years ago. One suggestion as to how this happened is dogs emerging from ancient hunter-gatherers\u2019 use of wolves as hunting companions or guards.\r\nAnother opinion states that domestication started with wolves stealing food leftovers eventually living permanently around humans as a result.\r\nSpeaking to the BBC, Dr Erik Axelsson from Uppsala University expands upon this notion: \u201cThis second hypothesis says that when we settled down, and in conjunction with the development of agriculture, we produced waste dumps around our settlements; and suddenly there was this new food resource, a new niche, for wolves to make use of, and the wolf that was best able to make use of it became the ancestor of the dog.\u201d\r\nDr Axelsson and colleagues examined the DNA of more than 50 modern dogs of differing breeds and compared their genetic information with those of 12 wolves. The team scanned DNA sequences of the two types of canid and identified 36 regions containing genes important in the rise of the domesticated dog. The analysis detected the presence of two major functional categories, genes involved in brain development and starch metabolism.\r\nBreaking down starch would have been advantageous for dogs\u2019 ancestors in scavenging on early farmers\u2019 discarded wheat and crop products.\r\n\u201cWolves also have these genes but they don't use them as efficiently as dogs,\u201d Dr Axelsson continued.\r\n\u201cWhen we look at the wolf genome, we only see one copy of the gene [for the amylase enzyme] on each chromosome. When we look at the dog genome, we see a range from two to 15 copies - and on average a dog carries seven copies more than the wolf.\r\n\u201cThat means the dog is a lot more efficient at making use of the nutrition in starch than the wolf.\u201d\r\nThese differences, therefore, reflect the behavioural differences between dogs and wolves today.\r\n\u201cPrevious experiments have indicated that when you select for a reduction in aggressiveness, you obviously get a tamer animal but you also get an animal that retains juvenile characteristics much longer during development, sometimes into adulthood,\u201d said Dr Axelsson.\r\nDr Axelsson\u2019s final theory may go some way to explaining the popular observation that dogs are permanently stuck in a kind of puppyhood.