A genetically unique Chinese cattle population shows evidence of common ancestry with wild species when analysed with a reduced ascertainment bias SNP panel

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Author(s)

  • Mario Barbato
  • Matilde Passamonti
  • Wai Yee Low
  • Licia Colli
  • Rick Tearle
  • John L. Williams
  • Paolo Ajmone Marsan

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0231162
Journal / PublicationPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number4
Online published9 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Abstract

In Hong Kong, there is a cattle population of ∼1,200 individuals of uncertain origin and genetic diversity. This population shows heterogeneous morphology, both in body type and pigmentation. Once used as draught animals by the local farmers, they were abandoned around the 1970s due to changes in the economy, and since then have lived as feral populations. To explore the origins of these cattle, we analysed ∼50k genotype data of 21 Hong Kong feral cattle, along with data from 703 individuals of 36 cattle populations of European, African taurine, and Asian origin, the wild x domestic hybrid gayal, plus two wild bovine species, gaur and banteng. To reduce the effect of ascertainment bias ∼4k loci that are polymorphic in the two wild species were selected for further analysis. The stringent SNP selection we applied resulted in increased heterozygosity across all populations studies, compared with the full panel of SNP, thus reducing the impact of ascertainment bias and facilitating the comparison of divergent breeds of cattle. Our results showed that Hong Kong feral cattle have relatively high levels of genetic distinctiveness, possibly due to the low level of artificial selection, and a likely common ancestry with wild species. We found signs of a putative taurine introgression, probably dating to the import of north European breeds during the British colonialism of Hong Kong. We showed that Hong Kong feral cattle, are distinct from Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds. Our results highlight the distinctiveness of Hong Kong feral cattle and stress the conservation value of this indigenous breed that is likely to harbour adaptive genetic variation, which is a fundamental livestock resource in the face of climate change and diversifying market demands.

Citation Format(s)

A genetically unique Chinese cattle population shows evidence of common ancestry with wild species when analysed with a reduced ascertainment bias SNP panel. / Barbato, Mario; Reichel, Michael P.; Passamonti, Matilde; Low, Wai Yee; Colli, Licia; Tearle, Rick; Williams, John L.; Marsan, Paolo Ajmone.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 15, No. 4, e0231162, 2020.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal