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
Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences