Across species, a similar suite of traits tends to develop in response to domestication, including modifications in behavior. Reduced fear and increased stress tolerance were central in early domestication, and many domestication-related behaviors may have developed as traits correlated to reduced fear. Genetic mechanisms involved in domestication of behavior can be investigated by using top-down or bottom-up approaches, either starting from the behavior variation and searching for underlying genes or finding selected loci and then attempting to identify the associated phenotypes. Combinations of these approaches have proven powerful, and examples of results from such studies are presented and discussed. This includes loci associated with tameness in foxes and dogs, as well as loci correlated with reduced aggression and increased sociality in chickens. Finally, some examples are provided on epigenetic mechanisms in behavior, and it is suggested that selection of favorable epigenetic variants may have been an important mechanism in domestication.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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