Rabbit Genome Provides Insight Into Genetics of Animal Domestication
Rabbit domestication involved many small changes throughout the genome, rather than large changes in a few genes, according to a study supported in part by NIAID. Until recently, little has been known about the genetic changes that transformed a wild animal into a domesticated one. In the new study, an international team of researchers generated a reference genome for the rabbit and compared it to genome sequences from 14 wild rabbit populations and six domesticated breeds. They found that many genomic variations occurred in DNA that helps control the activity of genes involved in brain and nerve cell development. Their findings, which appear in the Aug. 29 issue ofScience, suggest that no single gene is responsible for animal domestication.