Defining the Domestication Syndrome: Comment on Lord et al. 2020

Dominic Wright, Rie Henriksen, Martin Johnsson

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


Lord et al. [1] recently commented on the farm fox experiment, and whether it provides evidence for an animal domestication syndrome. They raise some valid points regarding the origins of the farm fox experiment and how the experiment pertains to domestication theory. However, the authors also go on to re-evaluate the domestication syndrome itself. The criteria used in their analysis is too restrictive to determine what counts as a domestication trait, and thus excludes relatively universal features of domesticates. This leads them to conclude that the domestication syndrome has been overstated, in our view, prematurely. We argue that there is good evidence that there is a phenotypic domestication syndrome, but it encompasses a small core of traits. This syndrome could be due to several genetic mechanisms; however, as Lord et al.’s analysis shows, there is not much evidence that it is caused by pleiotropy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining the Domestication Syndrome: Comment on Lord et al. 2020'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this