As a part of a Nordic project, 'Selection for more confident foxes', selection experiments with blue foxes lasting 4 years (1995-98) were arranged in Finland and Norway. In Finland, the study was carried out on a private farm with closed selection and production lines. In Norway, the experiment was done on 7 farms composing a fox circle where a breeding goal for increased confidence and a traditional one were compared. Low to moderate heritabilities existed in confidence (h2=0.20 in Finland vs. h2=0.12 in Norway). The corresponding repeatabilities were 0.23 vs. 0.32. Within 3 years of selection, genetic response for confidence was achieved in both experiments. In the Finnish study, cumulative response of 0.25 points compared to control (a two-point scale) was estimated, while in the Norwegian one, a priority of 0.38 points (a six-point scale) was obtained in the group bred for increased confidence compared to the traditional one. Higher selection differentials existed in males as compared to females. Predicted responses ( Delta G=0.15 points in Finland vs. Delta G=0.37 points in Norway) were lower or similar compared to the estimated ones. These studies (with different designs) show that it is possible to improve the confidence of blue foxes towards humans using selection.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Animal Science, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 28, Helsinki University, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland.email@example.com|
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