Hybrid origin of European commercial pigs examined by an in-depth haplotype analysis on chromosome 1

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Abstract

Although all farm animals have an original source of domestication, a large variety of modern breeds exist that are phenotypically highly distinct from the ancestral wild population. This phenomenon can be the result of artificial selection or gene flow from other sources into the domesticated population. The Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) has been domesticated at least twice in two geographically distinct regions during the Neolithic revolution when hunting shifted to farming. Prior to the establishment of the commercial European pig breeds we know today, some 200 years ago Chinese pigs were imported into Europe to improve local European pigs. Commercial European domesticated pigs are genetically more diverse than European wild boars, although historically the latter represents the source population for domestication. In this study we examine the cause of the higher diversity within the genomes of European commercial pigs compared to their wild ancestors by testing two different hypotheses. In the first hypothesis we consider that European commercial pigs are a mix of different European wild populations as a result of movement throughout Europe, hereby acquiring haplotypes from all over the European continent. As an alternative hypothesis, we examine whether the introgression of Asian haplotypes into European breeds during the Industrial Revolution caused the observed increase in diversity. By using re-sequence data for chromosome 1 of 136 pigs and wild boars, we show that an Asian introgression of about 20% into the genome of European commercial pigs explains the majority of the increase in genetic diversity. These findings confirm that the Asian hybridization, that was used to improve production traits of local breeds, left its signature in the genome of the commercial pigs we know today.
Original languageEnglish
Article number442
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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