How selective breeding for tameness changed the genetic makup of foxes - video
Scientist tries to breed a more tamer fox for fox breeders, everything goes along as predicted until the 10th generation, then the foxes ears changed,
their tails changed, their coats changed, and they started to bark .....
Breeding for tameness also changed the hormones in the foxes. These hormones in turn triggered off a cascade of changes that changed the genetic
makeup of the foxes. This is what happened to wolves when they became dogs. Fascinating.
posted on 21-3-2009
Here is another video on the topic, its fascinating, and paradoxically made the foxes useless to the industry because of the differing colorings
posted on 21-3-2009
Some more information on this topic...
away in 1985, but he was able to witness the early success of his hypothesis, that selecting for behaviour can cause cascading changes throughout the
For instance, the current explanation for the loss of pigment is that melanin (a compound that acts to color the coat of the animal) shares a common
pathway with adrenaline (a compound that increases the “fight or flight” instinct of an animal). Reduction of adrenaline (by selecting for tame
animals) inadvertently reduces melanin (causing the observed depigmentation effects). On the human side of things, patients who have adrenaline
compounds administered to their skin may develop dark spots.
So if Belyaevn is right, genetics is not just a low slow process that works on tiny incremental tweaks. Complicated environmental pressures can result
in complicated genetic results, in a stunningly quick period of time.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the project ran into serious financial trouble in the late 1990s. They had to cut down the amount of foxes
drastically, and the project survived primarily on funding obtained from selling the tame foxes as exotic pets. Imagine a menagerie of dwarf exotic
animals, who crave human attention and form bonds with people. It would be obscenely profitable.