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Trends Ecol Evol DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2019.10.011

The History of Farm Foxes Undermines the Animal Domestication Syndrome.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLord, KA, Larson, G, Coppinger, RP, Karlsson, EK
JournalTrends Ecol Evol
Date Published2020 Feb

The Russian Farm-Fox Experiment is the best known experimental study in animal domestication. By subjecting a population of foxes to selection for tameness alone, Dimitry Belyaev generated foxes that possessed a suite of characteristics that mimicked those found across domesticated species. This 'domestication syndrome' has been a central focus of research into the biological pathways modified during domestication. Here, we chart the origins of Belyaev's foxes in eastern Canada and critically assess the appearance of domestication syndrome traits across animal domesticates. Our results suggest that both the conclusions of the Farm-Fox Experiment and the ubiquity of domestication syndrome have been overstated. To understand the process of domestication requires a more comprehensive approach focused on essential adaptations to human-modified environments.


Alternate JournalTrends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
PubMed ID31810775