Genetics and animal domestication: new windows on an elusive process

Keith Dobney, Greger Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Domesticated animals are universally familiar. How, when, where and why they became domesticated is less well understood. The genetic revolution of the past few decades has facilitated novel insights into a field that previously was principally the domain of archaeozoologists. Although some of the conclusions drawn from genetic data have proved to be contentious, many studies have significantly altered or refined our understanding of past human animal relationships. This review seeks not only to discuss the wider concerns and ramifications of genetic approaches to the study of animal domestication but also to provide a broader theoretical framework for understanding the process itself. More specifically, we discuss issues related to the terminology associated with domestication, the possibility of domestication genes, and the promise and problems of genetics to answer the fundamental questions associated with domestication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • domestication
  • genetics
  • phylogeography
  • molecular clocks
  • paedomorphosis
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • phylogenetic relationships
  • molecular analysis
  • ancient DNA
  • origins
  • evolution
  • wild
  • dog
  • goats
  • pig


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