Revealing the history of sheep domestication using retrovirus integrations

Chessa, B. et al. (2009) Revealing the history of sheep domestication using retrovirus integrations. Science, 324(5926), pp. 532-536. (doi: 10.1126/science.1170587) (PMID:19390051) (PMCID:PMC3145132)

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The domestication of livestock represented a crucial step in human history. By using endogenous retroviruses as genetic markers, we found that sheep differentiated on the basis of their "retrotype" and morphological traits dispersed across Eurasia and Africa via separate migratory episodes. Relicts of the first migrations include the Mouflon, as well as breeds previously recognized as "primitive" on the basis of their morphology, such as the Orkney, Soay, and the Nordic short-tailed sheep now confined to the periphery of northwest Europe. A later migratory episode, involving sheep with improved production traits, shaped the great majority of present-day breeds. The ability to differentiate genetically primitive sheep from more modern breeds provides valuable insights into the history of sheep domestication.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Palmarini, Professor Massimo and Chessa, Dr Bernardo and Kao, Professor Rowland and Arnaud, Mr Frederick and Stear, Professor Michael
Authors: Chessa, B., Pereira, F., Arnaud, F., Amorim, A., Goyache, F., Mainland, I., Kao, R.R., Pemberton, J.M., Beraldi, D., Stear, M.J., Alberti, A., Pittau, M., Iannuzzi, L., Banabazi, M.H., Kazwala, R.R., Zhang, Y.P., Arranz, J.J., Ali, B.A., Wang, Z.L., Uzun, M., Dione, M.M., Olsaker, I., Holm, L.E., Saarma, U., Ahmad, S., Marzanov, N., Eythorsdottir, E., Holland, M.J., Ajmone-Marsan, P., Bruford, M.W., Kantanen, J., Spencer, T.E., and Palmarini, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN (Online):1095-9203

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
443391Molecular pathogenesis of ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma - host genetics and age as determinants of disease progressionMassimo PalmariniBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/F014643/1Centre for Virus Research