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Location: Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

Title: Genome sequencing of the extinct Eurasian wild aurochs illuminates the phylogeography and evolution of cattle

item Park, Stephen
item Magee, David
item Mcgettigan, Paul
item Teasdale, Matthew
item Edwards, Ceiridwen
item Lohan, Amanda
item Murphy, Alison
item Braud, Martin
item Donoghue, Mark
item Liu, Yuan
item Chamberlain, Andrew
item Rue-albrecht, Kevin
item Schroeder, Steven - Steve
item Spillane, Charles
item Tai, Shuaishuai
item Bradley, Daniel
item Sonstegard, Tad
item Loftus, Brendan
item Machugh, David

Submitted to: Genome Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2015
Publication Date: 10/26/2015
Citation: Park, S.D., Magee, D.A., Mcgettigan, P.A., Teasdale, M.D., Edwards, C.J., Lohan, A.J., Murphy, A., Braud, M., Donoghue, M.T., Liu, Y., Chamberlain, A.T., Rue-Albrecht, K., Schroeder, S.G., Spillane, C., Tai, S., Bradley, D.G., Sonstegard, T.S., Loftus, B.J., Machugh, D.E. 2015. Genome sequencing of the extinct Eurasian wild aurochs illuminates the phylogeography and evolution of cattle. Genome Biology. 16(1):1-15.

Interpretive Summary: Genome sequence from ancient DNA of any food animal is a valuable resource for research to better understand how selection has shaped animal phenotypes for production since the time of domestication. In this paper, we demonstrate for the first time, a comparative analysis of an aurochs genome with genome information from modern animals. The work highlights the complex domestic history of cattle, most notably a Northern Eurasian aurochs component to the genetic ancestry of modern British and Irish cattle. Our results also revealed a number of genes associated with growth and metabolism and immunobiology that exhibit evidence for positive selection within the time frame since cattle domestication ~10,000 years ago. This first aurochs genome sequence provides an important reference for testing hypotheses regarding the genetic consequences of recent artificial and natural selection in modern cattle. In addition, future analyses of complete genome sequences from modern animals and additional aurochs samples will refine the catalogue of genomic loci that contribute to key functional traits in domestic cattle.

Technical Abstract: Interrogation of modern and ancient bovine genome sequences provides a valuable model to study the evolution of cattle. Here, we analyse the first complete wild aurochs (Bos primigenius) genome sequence using DNA extracted from a ~ 6,750 year-old humerus bone retrieved from a cave site in Derbyshire, England. Comparative analyses places this aurochs genome as an outgroup to the domestic Bos taurus lineage, supporting the predominant Near Eastern origin of European cattle. However, we show that modern British and Irish breeds share more genetic variants with this aurochs than other European populations, supporting localised gene flow from the North European aurochs into the ancestors of modern British and Irish cattle. Finally, we demonstrate that genes showing evidence for positive selection in modern B. taurus are enriched for functions in growth and metabolism and immunobiology, suggesting that these biological processes have been important in the domestication and recent evolution of cattle.