This talk is on
I'm Carlos Driscoll, Chair
in Conservation Genetics
at the Wildlife Institute of India.
In this talk, we'll cover the basic
questions regarding where, when,
and who achieved domestication and
touch on why those people might
have made the
transition from hunting
and gathering to agriculture.
And then we'll move into the
deceptively simple question of what
domestication actually is and how,
in an evolutionary genetic sense,
it came about.
That should allow us to transition
to thinking about domestication
in terms of molecular genetics.
And finally, to briefly introduce
the field of behavioral ethics.
But before all that, we'll introduce
the topic with a few slides on what
done for us as humans.
Throughout the talk,
is considered in the
light of evolution,
and that seems a
good place to begin.
Darwin first described
in 1859, with "On the
Origin of Species."
Sexual selection was
introduced in "Descent of Man,
and Selection Related
to Sex" in 1871.
In between those two, in 1868,
he published the "Variation
of Animals and Plants
In this work, he looks more
deeply into artificial selection.
Domestication, the most
selection, was something
that very much interested Darwin.
He felt that an appreciation
of animal domestication
was important not
only in its own right,
but as a key to understanding
and hence evolution in general.
Here he was using domestic animal
breeding as a faster-paced analogy
for evolution by the gradual
and accumulative force
of natural selection.
Because Darwin saw that one could
experiment with domestic animals,
breeding various strains together
or selecting for certain traits,
things that could not be done
with wild animals in anything
close to the same way.
But on any farm, one could study
the properties of varieties
and dynamics of
So here he uses the tangible
and familiar results
of artificial selection
by farmers in his argument
that selection by natural
means, survival of the fittest,
was not just plausible or
possible, but probable.
If humans could do it in
only a few hundred years,
then nature must surely be able to
do the same thing over millions.