1. Selection vector and variability patterns under experimental conditions of animal domestication

General Results 1993-1995:

Our investigations are concerned with the fundamental problem of the relation of the major evolutionary factors, selection and variability. This relation is considered in the terms of the selection vector. Selection vectorized for behavioural traits is assigned a specific creative role. Our data demonstrated the diverse effects of long-term selection of silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) for tameability. The main goals are: to model further the situation of strong pressure of this selection on foxes and representatives of other taxa; analysis of the course of selection and its correlated responses; study on the developmental patterns of behaviour reorganization under selection for tameability and also elucidation of the role of some hormonal and transmitter parameters in this reorganization; searsch for and study on the correlated marker of the selection vector, i.e., morphological change that arises in all animals as a result of involvement in experimental domestication. It is hoped that this additional information will help to clear the common and species-specific variability patterns under selection vectorrized for domestication. And this in its turn will give some new insights into the creative role of selection and into the evolutionary implications of selection vector in particular.

In the past 3 years, emphasis was on the studying of variability in behaviour, morphology and hormonal function parameters during ontogeny. Thus, it was shown that changes in behaviour during development were correlated with the development of adrenocortical system in grey rats selected for behaviour. The course of early postnatal development of hormonal activity of the reproductive system as an integrative index of fitness was analysed in silver foxes under selection for domestication. Also in foxes, it was found that there were some changes in diurnal rhythm of melatonin concentration and of enzyme activities.

Certain coat colour mutations under selection for domesticated behaviour were studied in foxes and minks. Attention was focused on specificities of inheritance, features of gene pleiotropy, the morphology of hair pigmentation and embryological mechanisms. The influence of environmental photoperiod on the "Star" mutation expression and its pleiotropic effect on the secondary sexual ratio were demonstrated in foxes.


  1. Kolesnikova L.A., Yaga K., Hattori A., Reiter R.J. (1993) Tissue content of melatonin in relatively wild and domesticated silver foxes Vulpes fulvus. J. Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology. 29:482-486. (Rus.).
  2. Prasolova L.A., Trut L.N. (1993). Effect of the S gene on the migration rate of melanoblasts in embryos of silver foxes. Genetika. 26:787-789. (Rus.).
  3. Trut L.N. (1993). Is selection alternative or complementary to variability? Genetika 29:1941-1952. (Rus.).
  4. Trut L.N., Nesterova T.B., Zakian S.M. (1993). Comparative analysis of the level of heterozygosity for glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI) locus in silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) of domesticated and control populations. Genetika. 29:694-698. (Rus.)
  5. Kolesnikova L.A., Yaga K., Hattori A., Reiter R.S. (1994). The circadian dynamics of the melatonin concentration in the silver fox pineal gland, plasma and retina. Sechenov Physiological J. 80:38-42. (Rus.)
  6. Kolesnikova L.A., Serova L.I., Yaga K., Hattori A., Reiter R.S. (1994). Peculiarities of melatonin biosynthesis in the pineal gland of relatively wild and domesticated silver foxes Vulpes fulvus. J. Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology. 30:338-343. (Rus.)
  7. Prasolova L.A., Tichomirov I.B., Vsevolodov E.V., Latypov L.F., Trapezov O.V. (1994). Phenogenetic analysis of pigmentation of a new coat colour mutation of american mink (Mustela vison Schr. L.) and its combinations with some of the known mutations. Genetika 30:255-260. (Rus.)
  8. Blanchard D.C., Popova N.K., Plyusnina I.Z., Velichko I.L., Campbell D., Blanchard R.J., Nikulina J., and Nikulina E.M. (1994). Defensive Reactions of "Wild-Type" and "Domesticated" Wild Rats to Approach and Contact by a Threat Stimulus. Aggressive behaviour. 20:387-397.
  9. Trut L.N. (1995). Domestication of the fox: Roots and effects. Scientifur 19:11-18.
  10. Plyusnina I.Z. (1995). The effects of cross-mating on the development of behaviour during the primary socialization period in silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Scientifur 19:171-177.
  11. Trut L.N. (1995). Sex ratio in silver foxes: effects of domestication and the star gene. Theor. Appl. Genet. N 6.
  12. Prasolova L.A., Trut L.N. (1995). Morphology of molting hairs in domesticated silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Relation between the expression of the star and the mottling mutations. Scientifur. N 4.

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