Domestication Syndrome Caused Dogs to have Endearing Features

Researchers have revealed that domestication syndrome causes some dogs to have characteristics that people like very much, such as floppy ears, small jaws and white patches of fur. The syndrome has been claimed to be present in horses and pigs, some mammals and non-mammals, including fish and birds, as well.

Charles Darwin made several efforts to figure out a reason behind why domesticated species have features different from their wild relatives. The research found that accidental selective breeding of animals with genetic defects led them to have features different from their counterparts in the wild. Domestication affected specific genes of dogs, which influenced the neural crest.

The finding holds great importance for providing deep insight into a significant event in human evolution, said Adam Wilkins, of the Humboldt University of Berlin, and a lead researcher on the paper.

He added that human civilizations cannot be explained completely without animal domestication. It would have been very difficult for human species to thrive without these animals.

The hypothesis connecting various components of a syndrome referred to as domestication is a high possibility behind similar features of domesticated animals like dogs, horses, birds etc. The changes in their features took place when man bred them to tame.

"This interesting idea based in developmental biology brings us closer to solving a riddle that's been with us a long time. It provides a unifying hypothesis to test and brings valuable insight into the biology of domestication", Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of Genetics, heralded the research as an important breakthrough. A same theory was given by Darwin nearly 140 years ago, but there was no concrete evidence to prove this theory.

Adam Wilkins