Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Region For Tame Animals Discovered: Horse Whisperers, Lion Tamers Not Needed

Date:
June 9, 2009
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
In what could be a breakthrough in animal breeding, scientists have discovered a set of genetic regions responsible for animal tameness. This discovery should help animal breeders, farmers, zoologists, and anyone else who handles and raises animals to more fully understand what makes some animals interact with humans better than do others.

African buffalo; Syncerus caffer; South Africa. Humans have not yet been able to domesticate the wild African buffalo.
Credit: iStockphoto/Johan Swanepoel

In what could be a breakthrough in animal breeding, a team of scientists from Germany, Russia and Sweden have discovered a set of genetic regions responsible for animal tameness. This discovery, published in the June 2009 issue of the journal Genetics, should help animal breeders, farmers, zoologists, and anyone else who handles and raises animals to more fully understand what makes some animals interact with humans better than do others. It may also lead to more precise breeding strategies designed to pass specific genes from one generation to the next as a way to produce tame animals.

Related Articles


"I hope our study will ultimately lead to a detailed understanding of the genetics and biology of tameness," said Frank Albert, a scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the first author of the research report. "Maybe we'll then be able to domesticate a few of those species where humans have historically not been successful like the wild African Buffalo."

The roots of this study date back to 1972 when researchers in Novosibirsk, USSR (now Russia), caught a large group of rats in the wilderness around the city. After bringing them into the laboratory, the researchers divided them into two groups. The first group included the most "friendly" rats – those that were not aggressive toward people. The second group included only the most aggressive rats – those that screamed, attacked and bit the researchers. Since then, these rats have been bred with one another, and now, the two groups of rats act very differently toward people. The tame rats tolerate being touched and picked up, and never attack. The aggressive rats scream, run away, or attack and bite. For this research study, the scientists mated the tame with the aggressive rats and identified regions in the rat genome that cause a rat to be tamer or more aggressive.

"For thousands of years, humans have domesticated animals," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics, "and all during this time, much folklore and mythology has surrounded the process. But of course genetics plays a large role in the process, and this research provides a solid scientific explanation of this phenomenon, and offers clues about how genomes can be manipulated to breed tame animals of species once believed to be untamable."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Albert et al. Genetic Architecture of Tameness in a Rat Model of Animal Domestication. Genetics, 2009; 182 (2): 541 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.102186

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Genetic Region For Tame Animals Discovered: Horse Whisperers, Lion Tamers Not Needed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608131152.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2009, June 9). Genetic Region For Tame Animals Discovered: Horse Whisperers, Lion Tamers Not Needed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608131152.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Genetic Region For Tame Animals Discovered: Horse Whisperers, Lion Tamers Not Needed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608131152.htm (accessed April 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Thai wildlife officials begin a headcount of nearly 150 tigers kept by monks at a temple which has become the centre of a dispute over the welfare of the animals. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

AP (Apr. 24, 2015) Theres never been a shortage of beer on college campuses. But students at Cal Poly-Pomona are learning how to brew, serving their product to classmates, and hoping to land jobs in craft breweries when they graduate. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Cambodia&apos;s Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. As well as educating tourists about the creatures, it also offers a source of income to nearby villagers, who are paid to breed local species. Duration: 02:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins