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Genomic analysis of the domestication and post-Spanish conquest evolution of the llama and alpaca

Fan, Ruiwen, Gu, Zhongru, Guang, Xuanmin, Marín, Juan Carlos, Varas, Valeria, González, Benito A., Wheeler, Jane C., Hu, Yafei, Li, Erli, Sun, Xiaohui, Yang, Xukui, Zhang, Chi, Gao, Wenjun, He, Junping, Munch, Kasper, Corbett-Detig, Russel, Barbato, Mario, Pan, Shengkai, Zhan, Xiangjiang, Bruford, Michael W. and Dong, Changsheng 2020. Genomic analysis of the domestication and post-Spanish conquest evolution of the llama and alpaca. Genome Biology 21 , 159. 10.1186/s13059-020-02080-6

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Background Despite their regional economic importance and being increasingly reared globally, the origins and evolution of the llama and alpaca remain poorly understood. Here we report reference genomes for the llama, and for the guanaco and vicuña (their putative wild progenitors), compare these with the published alpaca genome, and resequence seven individuals of all four species to better understand domestication and introgression between the llama and alpaca. Results Phylogenomic analysis confirms that the llama was domesticated from the guanaco and the alpaca from the vicuña. Introgression was much higher in the alpaca genome (36%) than the llama (5%) and could be dated close to the time of the Spanish conquest, approximately 500 years ago. Introgression patterns are at their most variable on the X-chromosome of the alpaca, featuring 53 genes known to have deleterious X-linked phenotypes in humans. Strong genome-wide introgression signatures include olfactory receptor complexes into both species, hypertension resistance into alpaca, and fleece/fiber traits into llama. Genomic signatures of domestication in the llama include male reproductive traits, while in alpaca feature fleece characteristics, olfaction-related and hypoxia adaptation traits. Expression analysis of the introgressed region that is syntenic to human HSA4q21, a gene cluster previously associated with hypertension in humans under hypoxic conditions, shows a previously undocumented role for PRDM8 downregulation as a potential transcriptional regulation mechanism, analogous to that previously reported at high altitude for hypoxia-inducible factor 1α. Conclusions The unprecedented introgression signatures within both domestic camelid genomes may reflect post-conquest changes in agriculture and the breakdown of traditional management practices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1474-760X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 21 June 2020
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2020 10:45

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