The relationship between the response to artificial selection for darker coat color and fitness in a farm population of the sable (Martes zibellinaL.) from the Pushkinskoe Fur Farm (Moscow oblast) was studied. The selection was performed during 41 years. By the moment of the study, a response to the selection for this character had been obtained: the coat color in the selected population had become darker, and the proportion of black animals in it increased. In addition, sables with black heads, which were absent in the original population, had appeared. Artificial selection was accompanied by a decrease in the fitness of the selected population, which was expressed in decreased female reproductive capacity parameters (the fertility, maturation rate, and duration of the reproductive period). A selection technique consisting in the use of only highly fertile animals in the selection originally made it possible to restore the fitness parameters to the initial level almost without a decrease in the dark shade of the fur. However, further selection led to a drastic decrease in fitness that could not be precluded by any selection method used. The possible ways to overcome this unfavorable effect of artificial selection are discussed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 2, 2008
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