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Nat Ecol Evol. 2018 Sep;2(9):1479-1491. doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0611-6. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Red fox genome assembly identifies genomic regions associated with tame and aggressive behaviours.

Author information

1
Animal Sciences Department, College of ACES, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, IL, USA. avk@illinois.edu.
2
Animal Sciences Department, College of ACES, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, IL, USA.
3
China National Genebank, BGI -Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China.
4
Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia.
5
Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia.
6
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China.
7
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington DC, USA.
8
Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
9
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.
10
Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia.
11
Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.
12
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.
13
Department of Pathobiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
14
Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY, USA.
15
China National Genebank, BGI -Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China. guojie.zhang@bio.ku.dk.
16
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China. guojie.zhang@bio.ku.dk.
17
Section for Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. guojie.zhang@bio.ku.dk.

Abstract

Strains of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with markedly different behavioural phenotypes have been developed in the famous long-term selective breeding programme known as the Russian farm-fox experiment. Here we sequenced and assembled the red fox genome and re-sequenced a subset of foxes from the tame, aggressive and conventional farm-bred populations to identify genomic regions associated with the response to selection for behaviour. Analysis of the re-sequenced genomes identified 103 regions with either significantly decreased heterozygosity in one of the three populations or increased divergence between the populations. A strong positional candidate gene for tame behaviour was highlighted: SorCS1, which encodes the main trafficking protein for AMPA glutamate receptors and neurexins and suggests a role for synaptic plasticity in fox domestication. Other regions identified as likely to have been under selection in foxes include genes implicated in human neurological disorders, mouse behaviour and dog domestication. The fox represents a powerful model for the genetic analysis of affiliative and aggressive behaviours that can benefit genetic studies of behaviour in dogs and other mammals, including humans.

PMID:
30082739
DOI:
10.1038/s41559-018-0611-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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