CARTA: Domestication and Human Evolution - Tecumseh Fitch: The Domestication Syndrome and Neural Crest Cells: A Unifying Hypothesis
Date: 1/5/2015; 20 minutes

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The neural crest is a transitory embryonic tissue that, early in development, gives rise to a very diverse set of tissues and organs including pigment cells (melanocytes), bones, muscles and connective tissues in the head, and the adrenal gland. Tecumseh Fitch (Univ of Vienna) hypothesizes that the selection for tameness during early stages of domestication led to delayed maturation and reduced output of the adrenal component of the "fight or flight" response, via reduced neural crest input. This led, as an unselected byproduct, to other neural crest-derived tissues also being reduced, resulting in short snouts, smaller teeth, floppy ears, and changes in pigmentation (e.g. white spots). Recorded on 10/10/2014. (#28900)

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