Research ArticleGENETICS

The origin of domestication genes in goats

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Science Advances  20 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 21, eaaz5216
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz5216


Goat domestication was critical for agriculture and civilization, but its underlying genetic changes and selection regimes remain unclear. Here, we analyze the genomes of worldwide domestic goats, wild caprid species, and historical remains, providing evidence of an ancient introgression event from a West Caucasian tur-like species to the ancestor of domestic goats. One introgressed locus with a strong signature of selection harbors the MUC6 gene, which encodes a gastrointestinally secreted mucin. Experiments revealed that the nearly fixed introgressed haplotype confers enhanced immune resistance to gastrointestinal pathogens. Another locus with a strong signal of selection may be related to behavior. The selected alleles at these two loci emerged in domestic goats at least 7200 and 8100 years ago, respectively, and increased to high frequencies concurrent with the expansion of the ubiquitous modern mitochondrial haplogroup A. Tracking these archaeologically cryptic evolutionary transformations provides new insights into the mechanisms of animal domestication.

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