A genomics perspective on pig domestication

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Land animal domestication has typically led to remarkable phenotypic diversity, stemming from a broad genetic background. The process of land animal domestication turns out to be a complex, long-term event with extensive gene-flow between wild and captive populations. Using pig as model, this chapter provides an in-depth overview of domestication-related events leading towards the genetic diversity in extant pig breeds. Five events in the evolutionary history and domestication of pigs can be recognized that are important for the genetic variation in modern pig genomes: (1) Speciation of Sus species in Island South-East Asia (ISEA); (2) Divergence between European and Asian lineages; (3) Independent domestication leading to separate domesticated clades in Europe and Asia; (4) Hybridization between domesticated pigs from Asia and Europe; and (5) Breed formation. Remarkably, the extensive mixture of genetic material leading towards the current European commercial pigs has resulted in domestic breeds that are genetically more diverse than their wild ancestors. Nowadays, commercial breeding and genomics go hand in hand. Genomics has not only proven useful to provide understanding about the domestication history of pigs but also about the molecular mechanisms underlying traits of interest. Moreover, genomic selection is an important tool integral to modern commercial breeding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimal Domestication
EditorsFabrice Teletchea
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781838811334, 9781838811341
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019

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