By comparing foxes selected for tameness with others that have not been selected in this way, researchers have found evidence that dramatic behavioral and physiological changes accompanying tameness may be associated with only limited changes in gene activity in the brain.
The work is reported by Elena Jazin and colleagues at Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the Norwegian University of Life Science.
The first step in the process of domestication in mammals is the selection for tame individuals that can adapt to life with humans and to frequent handling. To investigate the changes in gene activity that accompany tameness, in the present study the authors compared two groups of farm-raised silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes). One group derived from a long-standing domestication process in which farm-raised silver foxes have been selected for more than 40 generations for non-aggressive behavior toward men (see the related work of Brian Hare and colleagues, Current Biology 15:226–230). Another group of foxes was also farm raised but was not selected for tameness. The foxes selected for tameness were docile and friendly and showed developmental, morphological, and neurochemical changes similar to those observed in other domestic animals.
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
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