April 12, 2014

Genetic paleohistory of domestic cows shows major differentiation in Africa

A new study reveals that African Bos taurus breeds are quite deeply diverged from the Eurasian branch, showing an early differentiation of both continental populations, admixture with African wild auroch and livestock export from Europe to Asia. 


Jared E. Decker et al., Worldwide Patterns of Ancestry, Divergence, and Admixture in Domesticated Cattle. PLoS ONE 2014. Open accessLINK [doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004254]

Abstract

The domestication and development of cattle has considerably impacted human societies, but the histories of cattle breeds and populations have been poorly understood especially for African, Asian, and American breeds. Using genotypes from 43,043 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers scored in 1,543 animals, we evaluate the population structure of 134 domesticated bovid breeds. Regardless of the analytical method or sample subset, the three major groups of Asian indicine, Eurasian taurine, and African taurine were consistently observed. Patterns of geographic dispersal resulting from co-migration with humans and exportation are recognizable in phylogenetic networks. All analytical methods reveal patterns of hybridization which occurred after divergence. Using 19 breeds, we map the cline of indicine introgression into Africa. We infer that African taurine possess a large portion of wild African auroch ancestry, causing their divergence from Eurasian taurine. We detect exportation patterns in Asia and identify a cline of Eurasian taurine/indicine hybridization in Asia. We also identify the influence of species other than Bos taurus taurus and B. t. indicus in the formation of Asian breeds. We detect the pronounced influence of Shorthorn cattle in the formation of European breeds. Iberian and Italian cattle possess introgression from African taurine. American Criollo cattle originate from Iberia, and not directly from Africa with African ancestry inherited via Iberian ancestors. Indicine introgression into American cattle occurred in the Americas, and not Europe. We argue that cattle migration, movement and trading followed by admixture have been important forces in shaping modern bovine genomic variation.

The triple (indicine or zebuine, Eurasian taurine, African taurine) division is apparent even in the limited scope of Principal Component Analysis, with African taurine breeds standing out in the intra-taurine distinctiveness in PC2 while PC1 shows the pre-Neolithic taurine-indicine distinction:

Figure 1. Principal component analysis of 1,543 animals genotyped with 43,043 SNPs.
Points were colored according to geographic origin of breed; black: Africa, green: Asia, red: North and South America, orange: Australia, and blue: Europe.

An admixture-enabled phylogeny shows more clearly the deep divergence of the African branch of taurine cows:

Figure 4. Phylogenetic network of the inferred relationships between 74 cattle breeds.
Breeds were colored according to their geographic origin; black: Africa, green: Asia, red: North and South America, orange: Australia, and blue: Europe. Scale bar shows 10 times the average standard error of the estimated entries in the sample covariance matrix. Common ancestor of domesticated taurines is indicated by an asterisk. Migration edges were colored according to percent ancestry received from the donor population. Migration edge a is hypothesized to be from wild African auroch into domesticates from the Fertile Crescent. Migration edge b is hypothesized to be introgression from hybrid African cattle. Migration edge c is hypothesized to be introgression from Bali/indicine hybrids into other Indonesian cattle. Migration edge d signals introgression of African taurine into Iberia. Migration edges e and f represent introgression from Brahman into American Criollo.

Admixture K=3 is also consistent with this triple pattern:

Figure 6. Ancestry models with 3 ancestral populations (K = 3).
Blue represents Eurasian Bos t. taurus ancestry, green represents Bos javanicus and Bos t. indicus ancestry, and dark grey represents African Bos. t. taurus ancestry. See Supplementary Figures S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S10 for other values of K.

The authors find that modern Anatolian breeds are not representative of early Neolithic cows:
Anatolian breeds (AB, EAR, TG, ASY, and SAR) are admixed between blue Fertile Crescent, grey African-like, and green indicine-like cattle (Figures 5 and 6), and we infer that they do not represent the taurine populations originally domesticated in this region due to a history of admixture. Zavot (ZVT), a crossbred breed [25], has a different history with a large portion of ancestry similar to Holsteins (Figures 2 and S8, S9, S10). The placement of Anatolian breeds along principal components 1 and 2 in Figure 1 [23], the ancestry estimates in Figure 6, their extremely short branch lengths in Figures 24, and significant f3 statistics confirm that modern Anatolian breeds are admixed (see Methods for explanation of f-statistics).

As mentioned above, they also find that African taurines are much deeper diverged from Eurasian taurines than would be expected if they all diverged in a simple model from early Neolithic cows. This is partly caused, according to the study, because of a later history of back-migration (or export) of European cows to Asia, including the Far East:
We conclude that there were two waves of European introgression into Far East Asian cattle, first with Mediterranean cattle (which carried African taurine and indicine alleles) brought along the Silk Road [29] and later from 1868 to 1918 when Japanese cattle were crossed with British and Northwest European cattle [25].

However there is more: African breeds also appear to have important levels of admixture (~26%) with native African wild auroch:
The second factor that we believe underlies the divergence of African taurine is a high level of wild African auroch [30], [31] introgression. Principal component (Figure 1), phylogenetic trees (Figures 2 and 3), and admixture (Figure 6) analyses all reveal the African taurines as being the most diverged of the taurine populations. Because of this divergence, it has been hypothesized that there was a third domestication of cattle in Africa [32][36]. If there was a third domestication, African taurine would be sister to the European and Asian clade. When no migration events were fit in the TreeMix analyses, African cattle were the most diverged of the taurine populations (Figures 2 and 3), but when admixture was modeled to include 17 migrations, all African cattle, except for East African Shorthorn Zebu and Zebu from Madagascar which have high indicine ancestry, were sister to European cattle and were less diverged than Asian or Anatolian cattle (Figure 4), thus ruling out a separate domestication. Our phylogenetic network (Figure 4) shows that there was not a third domestication process, rather there was a single origin of domesticated taurine (Asian, African, and European all share a recent common ancestor denoted by an asterisk in Figure 4, with Asian cattle sister to the rest of the taurine lineage), followed by admixture with an ancestral population in Africa (migration edge a in Figure 4, which is consistent across 6 separate TreeMix runs, Figure S4). This ancestral population (origin of migration edge a in Figure 4) was approximately halfway between the common ancestor of indicine and the common ancestor of taurine. We conclude that African taurines received as much as 26% (estimated as 0.263 in the network, p-value<2.2e-308) of their ancestry from admixture with wild African auroch, with the rest being Fertile Crescent domesticate in origin.

As it is well known, African breeds also show variable frequencies of indicine (zebu) ancestry, which is c. 0-20% in West Africa and as much as 74% in some East African breeds, owing to greater exchanges with Asia in historical times. 
... we revealed two clusters of indicine ancestry possibly resulting from the previously suggested two waves of indicine importation into Africa, the first occurring in the second millennium BC and the second during and after the Islamic conquests [25], [34], [48].

However the study notices that, after controlling for the African wild auroch's admixture effect, the appearance of indicine admixture in some breeds collapses to zero (and is reduced in other cases):
Thus, we conclude that contrary to the assumptions and conclusions of [55] cattle with pure taurine ancestry do exist in Africa.

Other results are a confirmation of SE origin of European cows, a specific founder effect in Europe for shorthorn breeds and significant (8-23%) African admixture in Iberian breeds. Some American breeds are indeed a colonial mix of taurine and indicine. 

Figure 5. Worldwide map with country averages of ancestry proportions with 3 ancestral populations (K = 3).
Blue represents Eurasian Bos t. taurus ancestry, green represents Bos javanicus and Bos t. indicus ancestry, and dark grey represents African Bos. t. taurus ancestry. Please note, averages do not represent the entire populations of each country, as we do not have a geographically random sample.

7 comments:

  1. I would interpret the African admixture in Iberian and Italian Taurine populations as intentional crossbreeding for heat and heartiness. You will probably also see relative mixtures along a cline that is formed as you get to closer to the equator and in drier areas by percentage.

    In the Southern United States and Mexico, mixing Brahmans with another population is called "giving it ear" which improves heat tolerance. (Brahmans have big floppy ears) So Angus 1/4 mixed with a Brahman bull gives you "Brangus". In my area, it is common to mix Herefords with Brahmans. The relative mixture is complex and corresponds directly with heat and water availabity. (and other factors)

    As far as wild African aurochs, all the Bos can crossbred, including Buffalo. Whether intentionally or accidentally it's not difficult to imagine intermixture. Of course the native aurochs would make the herd more hearty, but importantly better self-defenses against predation, much unlike the very domesticated short horn (often polled cows, or both bulls and cows).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "all the Bos can crossbred, including Buffalo"...

      Really? Never heard of that before. Actually now that I look at it, neither of the animals called buffalo belong to the Bos genus, instead: Bubalus (Asian water buffalo), Syncerus (African buffalo) and Bison (sometimes called "buffalo" in North America).

      You may mean the Polish experiments on cross-breeding cows with European bison, producing the so called zubroń or similar North American ones producing the so-called beefalo. Whatever the case so far the bison is considered a different genus.

      There are also cross-breeds with yaks and other Asian Bos sp. but admixture with true buffaloes (Bubalus sp., Syncerus sp.) seems impossible.

      I must underline that the African auroch was a taurine subspecies (Bos primigenius or Bos taurus) closely related to the Eurasian one, which probably only existed in the North of the continent, where ancient inhabitants documented it in their realistic rock art c. 15,000 years ago.

      Otherwise your comment is quite informative. It's apparent that you have some experience with bovine cattle.

      Delete
  2. Thanks Maju,

    I stand corrected, American bison are a different genus. They are, however, mixed with domestic cattle which was probably unintentional; ironically this may have helped save them from an extinction bottleneck. If I remember correctly, at the turn of the century there were only two 'very' small herds left in North America.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that at the least in Italy and Iberia, local aurochs did had a role on the formation of some local breeds.

    For example, in Portugal, and regarding Y-DNA, a study found that native cattle that was sampled contained 7 haplotypes (H2Y1, H3Y1, H5Y1, H7Y2, H8Y2, H10Y2, and H12Y2) found only in these breeds and not in any Middle Eastern or North African domestic cattle.

    «The presence in Portuguese breeds of Y1 patrilines, also found in aurochs, could represent more ancient local haplotypes.»


    I got this Y-DNA information in «Y Chromosome Haplotype Analysis in Portuguese Cattle Breeds Using SNPs and STRs».

    Regarding the status of Y1, is now supported that it´s indeed related with the European aurochs. So the endemic haplotype cases, present in some Portuguese breeds, very likely represent the introgression of European bull male aurochs.
    The endemic Y2 cases aren´t also out of equation (because iberian aurochs also had this haplogroup), but it are still being evaluated.
    Another interesting coincidence, is that there´s a Portuguese breed (Arouquesa) that combines an endemic patrilinear Y2 with the very rare matrilinear Q (which is atrongly suggested on this new study and in previous studies, to come from the aurochs cow).
    So both aurochs bull and cow, very likely, were involved on the formation of some Portuguese breeds.



    The study is here:

    pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/prodanim/html/JP_Web_archivos/64.pdf

    I just merely did comparisons, by using the current knowledge about the local cattle genetics and the results of this new study. Actually it´s surprising that the authors
    aren´t aware of this matches, but it´s normal, because Portugal usually is a less well studied country.

    Seemingly wild horses were also included in domestic stock breeds in Iberia:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018194


    The taurine matrilinear T3 situation is still being evaluated (because it´s also present in some local breeds), to differentiate the lineages until a deeper level, because it was found in both South European aurochs (Italy and Iberian peninsula, at least) and domesticated cattle from the Middle East.

    It seems clear anyway, that both Middle Eastern domestic cattle/Middle Eastern aurochs and South European aurochs, weren´t very distant genetically speaking.

    The North African aurochs, in my opinion, is a «recent» derivation from the Middle Eastern aurochs, on which the Sinai was used as stepping stone, during more wet periods.
    It´s possible that some North African cattle was exported to some European countries, but their influence doesn´t seem to be significative overall. At least and until now, this may sound realistic, I think.





    ReplyDelete
  4. I think that at the least in Italy and Iberia, local aurochs did had a role on the formation of some local breeds.

    For example, in Portugal, and regarding Y-DNA, a study found that native cattle that was sampled contained 7 haplotypes (H2Y1, H3Y1, H5Y1, H7Y2, H8Y2, H10Y2, and H12Y2) found only in these breeds and not in any Middle Eastern or North African domestic cattle.

    «The presence in Portuguese breeds of Y1 patrilines, also found in aurochs, could represent more ancient local haplotypes.»


    I got this Y-DNA information in «Y Chromosome Haplotype Analysis in Portuguese Cattle Breeds Using SNPs and STRs».

    Regarding the status of Y1, is now supported that it´s indeed related with the European aurochs. So the endemic haplotype cases, present in some Portuguese breeds, very likely represent the introgression of European bull male aurochs.
    The endemic Y2 cases aren´t also out of equation (because iberian aurochs also had this haplogroup), but it are still being evaluated.
    Another interesting coincidence, is that there´s a Portuguese breed (Arouquesa) that combines an endemic patrilinear Y2 with the very rare matrilinear Q (which is atrongly suggested on this new study and in previous studies, to come from the aurochs cow).
    So both aurochs bull and cow, very likely, were involved on the formation of some Portuguese breeds.



    The study is here:

    pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/prodanim/html/JP_Web_archivos/64.pdf

    I just merely did comparisons, by using the current knowledge about the local cattle genetics and the results of this new study. Actually it´s surprising that the authors
    aren´t aware of this matches, but it´s normal, because Portugal usually is a less well studied country.

    Seemingly wild horses were also included in domestic stock breeds in Iberia:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018194


    The taurine matrilinear T3 situation is still being evaluated (because it´s also present in some local breeds), to differentiate the lineages until a deeper level, because it was found in both South European aurochs (Italy and Iberian peninsula, at least) and domesticated cattle from the Middle East.

    It seems clear anyway, that both Middle Eastern domestic cattle/Middle Eastern aurochs and South European aurochs, weren´t very distant genetically speaking.

    The North African aurochs, in my opinion, is a «recent» derivation from the Middle Eastern aurochs, on which the Sinai was used as stepping stone, during more wet periods.
    It´s possible that some North African cattle was exported to some European countries, but their influence doesn´t seem to be significative overall. At least and until now, this may sound realistic, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  5. By the way, only few breeds have shown a genetic connection with north african cattle, AFAIK.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Probably this could explain the presence of another aurochs mtDNA lineage (P) in Korean cattle:

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/131108/ncomms3755/full/ncomms3755.html

    ReplyDelete

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