Genomic analysis on pygmy hog reveals extensive interbreeding during wild boar expansion

Langqing Liu*, Mirte Bosse, Hendrik-Jan Megens, Laurent A.F. Frantz, Young Lim Lee, Evan K. Irving-Pease, Goutam Narayan, Martien A.M. Groenen, Ole Madsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Wild boar (Sus scrofa) drastically colonized mainland Eurasia and North Africa, most likely from East Asia during the Plio-Pleistocene (2–1Mya). In recent studies, based on genome-wide information, it was hypothesized that wild boar did not replace the species it encountered, but instead exchanged genetic materials with them through admixture. The highly endangered pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is the only suid species in mainland Eurasia known to have outlived this expansion, and therefore provides a unique opportunity to test this hybridization hypothesis. Analyses of pygmy hog genomes indicate that despite large phylogenetic divergence (~2 My), wild boar and pygmy hog did indeed interbreed as the former expanded across Eurasia. In addition, we also assess the taxonomic placement of the donor of another introgression, pertaining to a now-extinct species with a deep phylogenetic placement in the Suidae tree. Altogether, our analyses indicate that the rapid spread of wild boar was facilitated by inter-specific/inter-generic admixtures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1992
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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