Carneiro M, Rubin CJ, Di Palma F, Albert FW, Alföldi J, Martinez Barrio A, Pielberg G, Rafati N, Sayyab S, Turner-Maier J, Younis S, Afonso S, Aken B, Alves JM, Barrell D, Bolet G, Boucher S, Burbano HA, Campos R, Chang JL, Duranthon V, Fontanesi L, Garreau H, Heiman D, Johnson J, Mage RG, Peng Z, Queney G, Rogel-Gaillard C, Ruffier M, Searle S, Villafuerte R, Xiong A, Young S, Forsberg-Nilsson K, Good JM, Lander ES, Ferrand N, Lindblad-Toh K, Andersson L
Science 345 (6200) 1074-1079 [2014-08-29; online 2014-08-30]
The genetic changes underlying the initial steps of animal domestication are still poorly understood. We generated a high-quality reference genome for the rabbit and compared it to resequencing data from populations of wild and domestic rabbits. We identified more than 100 selective sweeps specific to domestic rabbits 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. We propose 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.