New publication: Tracking Five Millennia of Horse Management with Extensive Ancient Genome Time Series

By Antoine Fages et al. (including Sanne Boessenkool*, Heidi Nistelberger*, Albína Hulda Pálsdóttir*, and Bastiaan Star*) in Cell


Horse domestication revolutionized warfare and accelerated travel, trade, and the geographic expansion of languages. Here, we present the largest DNA time series for a non-human organism to date, including genome-scale data from 149 ancient animals and 129 ancient genomes (≥1-fold coverage), 87 of which are new. This extensive dataset allows us to assess the modern legacy of past equestrian civilizations. We find that two extinct horse lineages existed during early domestication, one at the far western (Iberia) and the other at the far eastern range (Siberia) of Eurasia. None of these contributed significantly to modern diversity. We show that the influence of Persian-related horse lineages increased following the Islamic conquests in Europe and Asia. Multiple alleles associated with elite-racing, including at the MSTN “speed gene,” only rose in popularity within the last millennium. Finally, the development of modern breeding impacted genetic diversity more dramatically than the previous millennia of human management.

Available online 2 May 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.03.049
Publication webpage.

* Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
See the publication webpage for full author information.

Tags: Cell;
Published May 3, 2019 12:33 PM - Last modified Mar. 5, 2020 12:28 PM