Monday, September 03, 2012

Making Dogs

I've mentioned this before, but I came across a reprinted article that lays it out nicely, and thought I'd put up a link. Fascinating reading.

 Basically, back in the Soviet days, the late 1950's, a Russian scientist, Dmitry Belyaev, began an experiment using foxes, breeding them for certain traits. The short version of the experiment is, if you select for their qualities, after several generations, you turn foxes into dogs.

They act like dogs, look like dogs, and are, essentially, dogs. 

Not the first example of hands-on evolution, given all the varieties of critters we have husbanded into existence, but good science nonetheless.


steve-vh said...

The russian experiment was revisited by National Geographic last year, quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

That was a fascinating experiment where ending up with dog-like foxes was actually a mistake. All they wanted was tame silver foxes that would be easier to farm for fur. Just goes to show that unintended consequences (piebald coats) will happen ... and sometimes lead to new paths (theories of domestication).

Also, when will tame foxes be available for adoption? Because they're cool.