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Yak whole-genome resequencing reveals domestication signatures and prehistoric population expansions

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Qiang Qiu, Lizhong Wang, Kun Wang, Yongzhi Yang, Tao Ma, Zefu Wang, Xiao Zhang, Zengqiang Ni, Fujiang Hou, Ruijun Long, Richard John Abbott, Johannes Lenstra, Jianquan Liu

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Abstract

Yak domestication represents an important episode in the early human occupation of the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). The precise timing of domestication is debated and little is known about the underlying genetic changes that occurred during the process. Here we investigate genome variation of wild and domestic yaks. We detect signals of selection in 209 genes of domestic yaks, several of which relate to behaviour and tameness. We date yak domestication to 7,300 years before present (yr BP), most likely by nomadic
people, and an estimated sixfold increase in yak population size by 3,600 yr BP. These dates coincide with two early human population expansions on the QTP during the early-Neolithic age and the late-Holocene, respectively. Our findings add to an understanding of yak domestication and its importance in the early human occupation of the QTP.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number10283
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2015

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