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Revealing the history of sheep domestication using retrovirous integrations

Chessa, B., Pereira, F., Arnaud, F., Amorim, A., Goyache, F., Mainland, I., Kao, R. R., Pemberton, J. M., Beraldi, D., Stear, M. J., Alberti, A., Pittau, M., Iannuzzi, L., Banabazi, M. H., Kazwala, R. R., Zhang, Y., Arranz, J. J., Ali, B. A., Wang, Z., Uzun, M., Dione, M. M., Olsaker, I., Holm, L.-E., Saarma, U., Ahmad, S., Marzanov, N., Eythorsdottir, E., Holland, M. J., Ajmone-Marsan, P., Bruford, Michael William, Kantanen, J., Spencer, T. E. and Palmarini, M. 2009. Revealing the history of sheep domestication using retrovirous integrations. Science 324 (5926) , pp. 532-536. 10.1126/science.1170587

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The domestication of livestock represented a crucial step in human history. By using endogenous retroviruses as genetic markers, we found that sheep differentiated on the basis of their “retrotype” and morphological traits dispersed across Eurasia and Africa via separate migratory episodes. Relicts of the first migrations include the Mouflon, as well as breeds previously recognized as “primitive” on the basis of their morphology, such as the Orkney, Soay, and the Nordic short-tailed sheep now confined to the periphery of northwest Europe. A later migratory episode, involving sheep with improved production traits, shaped the great majority of present-day breeds. The ability to differentiate genetically primitive sheep from more modern breeds provides valuable insights into the history of sheep domestication.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN: 0036-8075
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:06

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