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Thank Christianity for that delicious chicken on your plate

11th-century dietary rules fast-tracked the domestication of our favorite food fowl today

Thank Christianity for that delicious chicken on your plate

The chicken as you know it may be thanks to Jesus.

Humans first began domesticating chickens about 6,000 years ago, but new genetic research suggests these animals didn’t truly take shape as we know them today until more recently. It was only 1,000 years ago that the genes of Europe’s most popular poultry began shifting to make the birds lay eggs faster and be more comfortable around humans — and changes in Christian dietary rules could have been the major driver of the change.

As detailed in in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, this research reveals how very specific humans historical events can have a huge — and immediate — effect on the evolution of other species, particularly those we have domesticated for food.

In tracking down the specific variations in genes that distinguish chickens from their wild cousins, the researchers found two particular genes in the domesticated poultry that show signs of strong selection. This means humans bred chickens in order to maximize the traits that those genes are linked with, even if this was still centuries before humans gained actual knowledge of genetics.

This article continues at [Vocativ] How Christianity Accidentally Turbo-Charged Chicken Evolution

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