Journal Article


David E MacHugh
Brendan J Loftus
Tad S Sonstegard
Daniel G Bradley
Shuaishuai Tai
Charles Spillane
Steven Schroeder
Kévin Rue-Albrecht
Andrew T Chamberlain
Yuan Liu
and 9 others



cattle genome sequencing gene flow animals cattle irish genome evolution bos phylogeography

Genome sequencing of the extinct Eurasian wild aurochs, Bos primigenius, illuminates the phylogeography and evolution of cattle. (2015)

Abstract Domestication of the now-extinct wild aurochs, Bos primigenius, gave rise to the two major domestic extant cattle taxa, B. taurus and B. indicus. While previous genetic studies have shed some light on the evolutionary relationships between European aurochs and modern cattle, important questions remain unanswered, including the phylogenetic status of aurochs, whether gene flow from aurochs into early domestic populations occurred, and which genomic regions were subject to selection processes during and after domestication. Here, we address these questions using whole-genome sequencing data generated from an approximately 6,750-year-old British aurochs bone and genome sequence data from 81 additional cattle plus genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data from a diverse panel of 1,225 modern animals. Phylogenomic analyses place the aurochs as a distinct outgroup to the domestic B. taurus lineage, supporting the predominant Near Eastern origin of European cattle. Conversely, traditional British and Irish breeds share more genetic variants with this aurochs specimen than other European populations, supporting localized gene flow from aurochs into the ancestors of modern British and Irish cattle, perhaps through purposeful restocking by early herders in Britain. Finally, the functions of genes showing evidence for positive selection in B. taurus are enriched for neurobiology, growth, metabolism and immunobiology, suggesting that these biological processes have been important in the domestication of cattle. This work provides important new information regarding the origins and functional evolution of modern cattle, revealing that the interface between early European domestic populations and wild aurochs was significantly more complex than previously thought.
Collections Ireland -> National University of Ireland Galway -> PubMed

Full list of authors on original publication

David E MacHugh, Brendan J Loftus, Tad S Sonstegard, Daniel G Bradley, Shuaishuai Tai, Charles Spillane, Steven Schroeder, Kévin Rue-Albrecht, Andrew T Chamberlain, Yuan Liu and 9 others

Experts in our system

David E. MacHugh
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 82
Brendan Loftus
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 21
Tad S Sonstegard
National University of Ireland Galway
Total Publications: 3
Daniel Bradley
Trinity College Dublin
Total Publications: 84
Charles Spillane
National University of Ireland Galway
Total Publications: 43
Kevin Rue-Albrecht
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 12