Genetic research and livestock origins

From The Pig

“GLOBAL – Modern cattle are descended from a small herd domesticated in the Middle East about 10,500 years ago, according to recent genetics research.

Researchers extracted DNA from domestic cattle bones found at archeological sites. By examining the DNA of ancient and modern cattle, they traced taurine cattle to about 80 female aurochs. Taurine cattle include beef breeds like Herefords and Angus, and dairy breeds like Holsteins.

The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution, states that the low number of domesticated aurochs indicates “initial domestication took place in a restricted area and suggests the process was constrained by the difficulty of sustained managing and breeding of the wild progenitors of domestic cattle.” 

In other words, domesticating wild aurochs took a heavy dose of bravery. Goats, sheep, and pigs were domesticated in the same area, making the region a cradle of livestock development.

Soon people began selecting for specific traits, such as docility and production, shaping the animals into breeds suited to specific human needs. Today, genomic technology is both speeding up and refining trait selection. For example, researchers are working on techniques to select pigs less susceptible to diseases such as PRRS and to choose cattle with traits related to growth performance, grade and yield. Australian scientists are pinning down traits linked to drought tolerance in sheep….”

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1 Comment

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One response to “Genetic research and livestock origins

  1. “indicates” … “suggests” … all just surmise upon surmise, then presented as a fact … as though you can peer back into the mists of time. [snip]

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