Large-scale ruminant genome sequencing provides insights into their evolution and distinct traits

Journal: Science

Published: 2019-06-21

DOI: 10.1126/science.aav6202

Affiliations: 29

Authors: 52

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Research Highlight

Genomes reveal evolution of ruminants

© Winfried Wisniewski/Getty

© Winfried Wisniewski/Getty

A new family tree for ruminants helps explain the evolution of these agriculturally important mammals.

An international team co-led by scientists at Northwestern Polytechnical University assembled the genomes of 44 ruminant species, including cattle, yak, goat and sheep.

With their dataset of more than 40 trillion letters of DNA, the researchers resolved the evolutionary history of these cud-chewing mammals. They found that many lineages experienced large population reductions about 100,000 years ago — around the same time that humans started migrating out of Africa to other continents.

This implies that human encroachment into ruminant territories likely contributed to the massive decline in mammalian species during the late Pleistocene period, a finding that could have important implications for modern conservation efforts.

The researchers also identified many genetic changes implicated in the evolution of cranial appendages, digestive systems, dental anatomy and other ruminant traits of interest to animal breeders.

Supported content

  1. Science 364, eaav6202 (2019). doi: 10.1126/science.aav6202
Institutions Share
Research Center for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, NPU, China 0.28
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, KIZ CAS, China 0.16
Shaanxi Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, NWAFU, China 0.13
Department of Biology, UCPH, Denmark 0.05
Nowbio Biotechnology Company, China 0.04
Kunming Cell Bank, KIZ CAS, China 0.03
San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, United States of America (USA) 0.03
China National Genebank (CNGB), China 0.02
Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark 0.02
Department of Special Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, TCS CAAS, China 0.02
Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity - Museum für Naturkunde (MfN), Germany 0.02
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems, LZU, China 0.02
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego, United States of America (USA) 0.02
College of Life and Geographic Sciences, Kashgar University, China 0.02
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, United States of America (USA) 0.02
CAS Center for Excellence in Animal Evolution and Genetics, KIZ CAS, China 0.02
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China 0.01
State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, IOZ CAS, China 0.01
CAS Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, IOZ CAS, China 0.01
Yunnan Research Institute for Local Plateau Agriculture and Industry, China 0.01
State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-Resources in Yunnan, China 0.01
Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC), Denmark 0.01
Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, UC San Diego, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Natural History Museum of Denmark (SNM), UCPH, Denmark 0.01
University Museum, NTNU, Norway 0.01
UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology (EVE), United States of America (USA) 0.01
UC Davis Genome Center, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Section for Ecology and Evolution, UCPH, Denmark 0

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