Genetics of behavior in the silver fox

Mamm Genome. 2012 Feb;23(1-2):164-77. doi: 10.1007/s00335-011-9373-z. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


The silver fox provides a rich resource for investigating the genetics of behavior, with strains developed by intensely selective breeding that display markedly different behavioral phenotypes. Until recently, however, the tools for conducting molecular genetic investigations in this species were very limited. In this review, the history of development of this resource and the tools to exploit it are described. Although the focus is on the genetics of domestication in the silver fox, there is a broader context. In particular, one expectation of the silver fox research is that it will be synergistic with studies in other species, including humans, to yield a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms and evolution of a wider range of social cognitive behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Dogs
  • Foxes / genetics*
  • Foxes / psychology*
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Social Behavior