Genes played Important Role in Domestication of Rabbit

Genes played Important Role in Domestication of Rabbit

Various genes that control the growth of the brain and nervous system were important for the domestication of the rabbit, according to a recently published scientific paper.

Animals have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. The domestication of animals, like cattle, dogs, sheep, goats and pigs, started from 9,000 to 15,000 years ago. The domestication of the rabbit started about 1,400 years ago at French monasteries.

In order to develop a reference of genome assembly, scientists first sequenced the entire genome of one domestic rabbit. After this, they re-sequenced entire genome of domestic rabbits belonging to six different breeds and 14 samples from around the Iberian Peninsula.

No previous study has been conducted in such depths to find out the ancestral foundation of rabbits. The study helped a team of scientists to find a link between transformation of rabbits and alterations in their genetic structure.

This experiment was carried out on six different breeds of domestic rabbits along with the wild rabbits that came from 14 places across the southern part of France and the Iberian Peninsula.

There are many reasons behind why the rabbit is an extraordinary model for genetic studies of domestication. “Its domestication was relatively recent, we know where it happened, and this region is still heavily populated by wild rabbits. Wild rabbits also serve as an excellent model for genetic studies of the early stages of the formation of species”, said Miguel Carneiro, principal author of the document.

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