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May 22, 2019
dividerNews ArchivedividerDomestication in European Rabbit and its application on the human nervous system Presented by Nima Rafati at ABRII, 2nd January 2018
Domestication in European Rabbit and its application on the human nervous system Presented by Nima Rafati at ABRII, 2nd January 2018
Domestication in European Rabbit and its application on the human nervous system Presented by Nima Rafati at ABRII, 2nd January 2018

      Nima Rafati from Uppsala University, delivered a speech entitled “Characterizing Molecular Footprints of Domestication in European Rabbit by Whole Genome Re-sequencing” to researchers, faculty members and students at the Agricultural Biotechnology Institute of Iran (ABRII) on 2nd January 2018.

      Dr. Rafati declared that 14 wild rabbit and 6 domestic ones were used in the experiment. Referring to “Rabbit genome analysis reveals a polygenic basis for phenotypic change during domestication”, the genetic changes underlying the initial steps of animal domestication are still poorly understood. A high-quality reference genome for the rabbit was generated and was compared to resequencing data from populations of wild and domestic rabbits. More than 100 selective sweeps specific to domestic rabbits were identified, but only a relatively small number of fixed (or nearly fixed) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for derived alleles. SNPs with marked allele frequency differences between wild and domestic rabbits were enriched for conserved noncoding sites. Enrichment analyses suggest that genes affecting brain and neuronal development have often been targeted during domestication. It was proposed that because of a truly complex genetic background, tame behavior in rabbits and other domestic animals evolved by shifts in allele frequencies at many loci, rather than by critical changes at only a few domestication loci. The results show that very few loci have gone to complete fixation in domestic rabbits and none at coding sites or at noncoding conserved sites. However, allele frequency shifts were detected at many loci spread across the genome, and the great majority of domestic alleles were also found in wild rabbits, implying that directional selection events associated with rabbit domestication are consistent with polygenic and soft sweep modes of selection that primarily acted on standing genetic variation in regulatory regions of the genome. This stands in contrast with breed-specific traits in many domesticated animals that often show a simple genetic basis with complete fixation of causative alleles. The finding that many genes affecting brain and neuronal development have been targeted during rabbit domestication is fully consistent with the view that the most critical phenotypic changes during the initial steps of animal domestication probably involved behavioral traits that allowed animals to tolerate humans and the environment humans offered. On the basis of these observations, it was proposed that the reason for the paucity of specific fixed domestication genes in animals is that no single genetic change is either necessary or sufficient for domestication. Because of the complex genetic background for tame behavior, we propose that domestic animals evolved by means of many mutations of small effect, rather than by critical changes at only a few domestication loci.

      This researcher from Uppsala University of Sweden added that of the most prominent applications of this research in the future can be utilization of the obtained information on humans. As phobias or human fears return to the central nervous system or brain, this information can pave the way to spot these genes in animals and by generalizing them, we will be able to apply the study on the human nervous system.

 

 

 

 


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