Popular Science

The genes that turn wild animals into pets

A 60-year fox study could explain how dogs got domesticated.
three domesticated foxes

Russian domesticated foxes.

Kingston Photography for the JAB Canid Education and Conservation Center

A wise man once asked, what does the fox say? A thing or two about how canines acquiesce to domestication, apparently. Thanks to the efforts of an ongoing breeding experiment started during the days of the Soviet Union, researchers have shed new light on genes that govern how foxes and other canine species turn from aggressive dogs on the hunt, into cute, cuddly, and friendly puppers that don’t much mind a more sedentary lifestyle.

The research, , all started in the—lots of them—to see if he might replicate the wolf-to-pup transition.

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