Measurement of Segregating Behaviors in Experimental Silver Fox Pedigrees
- 597 Downloads
Strains of silver foxes, selectively bred at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, are a well established, novel model for studying the genetic basis of behavior, and the processes involved in canine domestication. Here we describe a method to measure fox behavior as quantitative phenotypes which distinguish populations and resegregate in experimental pedigrees. We defined 50 binary observations that nonredundantly and accurately distinguished behaviors in reference populations and cross-bred pedigrees. Principal-component analysis dissected out the independent elements underlying these behaviors. PC1 accounted for >44% of the total variance in measured traits. This system clearly distinguished tame foxes from aggressive and wildtype foxes. F1 foxes yield intermediate values that extend into the ranges of both the tame and aggressive foxes, while the scores of the backcross generation resegregate. These measures can thus be used for QTL mapping to explore the genetic basis of tame and aggressive behavior in foxes, which should provide new insights into the mechanisms of mammalian behavior and canine domestication.
KeywordsCanidae Vulpes vulpes Interspecies tameness Attack Domestication
We are indebted to Irina V. Pivovarova and Grigory A. Temnykh, two observers of fox behavior from videotapes. We are grateful to Gordon Lark for help and advise. We thank Simon Kizhner for editorial assistance in construction of the fox video library, Tatyana Semenova, Vasiliy Ivaykin, Vera Vladimirova, Tatyana Konovalova, and all the animal keepers at the ICG experimental farm for research assistance; to Sarah Pinkney for help in developing the scoring assay. Research was supported by NIH grants MH069688, EY06855, EY13729, an NIH FIRCA grant # RO3 TW007056 awarded to the University of Utah, grants # 05-04-4837 of the Russian Fund for Basic Research, Program of the Russian Academy of Sciences: “Biodiversity and Genome Dynamics,” and Cornell University VERGE Initiative.
- Acland GM et al (2004) Resegregating behaviors in the silver fox. A model system for mapping sociability. http://www.ashg.org/genetics/abstracts/abs04/f2300.htm
- Afifi A, Clark VA, May S (2004) Computer-aided multivariate analysis. Chapman and Hall/CRC, p 489Google Scholar
- Dohoo I, Martin W, Stryn H (2003) Veterinary epidemiologic research. AVC Inc., CanadaGoogle Scholar
- Harri M et al (2003) Behavioural and physiological differences between silver foxes selected and not selected for domestic behaviour. Anim Welf 12:305–314Google Scholar
- Kukekova AV et al (2005) The genetics of domesticated behavior in canids: What can dogs and silver foxes tell us about each other? Chapter 21. In: Ostrander EA, Giger U, Lindblad-Toh K (eds) The dog and its genome. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Woodbury, pp 515–537Google Scholar
- Scott JP, Fuller JL (1965) Genetics and the social behavior of the dog. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, p 468Google Scholar
- Trut LN (1980a) The genetics and phenogenetics of domestic behaviour. Problems in general genetics. Proceeding of the XIV International Congress of Genetics, vol 2, book 2:123–136Google Scholar
- Trut LN (1980b) The role of behavior in domestication-associated changes in animals as revealed with the example of silver fox. Doctoral (Biol.) dissertation, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk, RussiaGoogle Scholar
- Trut LN (2001) Experimental studies of early canid domestication. In: The genetics of the dog. CABI, p 15–43Google Scholar
- Vasilieva LL, Trut LN (1990) The use of the method of principal components for phenogenetic analysis of the integral domestication trait. Genetika 26(3):516–524Google Scholar