Researchers from the University’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) worked with an international team of genomics researchers to analyse the genetic mutations of an ancient bison, many modern cattle breeds and members of the larger ruminant family tree, including deer, antelopes, and giraffes.
Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, open the way for identifying important mutations in the ancestors of domestic animals, says ACAD Director Professor Alan Cooper.
“The entire ancient bison genome was screened using a bovine SNP-chip – which maps changes at 54,000 specific sites across the genome at once. This is the first time such a technique has been used to examine the genetic variation of any extinct species,” Professor Cooper says.
The bovine SNP-chip was used to scan the genomes of 61 different ruminant species and 48 cattle breeds, to create a detailed evolutionary history for this complex group, which has proven difficult using traditional genetic studies.
Study leader Professor Jerry Taylor from Missouri University says: “We were surprised to find that we were able to generate very high quality genotypes for species for which the chip was not designed”.
By analysing a very large number of mutations across the different genomes, the researchers were able to provide a far more comprehensive picture of the ruminant family tree, as well as revealing the relationships and movements of modern cattle breeds through time.
“Understanding how different genes create variation controlling growth efficiency, levels of marbling (intramuscular fat), and disease resistance could have a large economic impact for farmers who raise cattle throughout the world,” says Professor Taylor.
ACAD post-doctoral researcher Dr Kefei Chen has since used the approach to analyse the genomes of the extinct aurochs, the ancestor of modern cattle, as well as early domestic cattle from China, Russia and Europe as part of a research program funded by the Australian Research Council.
Professor Cooper says: “We are using this approach to track genetic changes that took place during domestication, when much of the diversity in ancestral species was lost due to the very strong selection applied by early farmers for a few genetic traits such as docility, rapid growth and birth rates. The lost genetic variation may hold all sorts of valuable information for modern farming, including important adaptations to climate change.Professor Alan Cooper
Professor Alan Cooper | Newswise Science News
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.01.2017 | Awards Funding
19.01.2017 | Studies and Analyses