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The Complete Mitochondrial Genome of an 11,450-year-old Aurochsen (Bos primigenius) from Central Italy

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Author(s): Lari Martina | Rizzi Ermanno | Mona Stefano | Corti Giorgio | Catalano Giulio | Chen Kefei | Vernesi Cristiano | Larson Greger | Boscato Paolo | De Bellis Gianluca | Cooper Alan | Caramelli David | Bertorelle Giorgio

Journal: BMC Evolutionary Biology
ISSN 1471-2148

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 32;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Bos primigenius, the aurochs, is the wild ancestor of modern cattle breeds and was formerly widespread across Eurasia and northern Africa. After a progressive decline, the species became extinct in 1627. The origin of modern taurine breeds in Europe is debated. Archaeological and early genetic evidence point to a single Near Eastern origin and a subsequent spread during the diffusion of herding and farming. More recent genetic data are instead compatible with local domestication events or at least some level of local introgression from the aurochs. Here we present the analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of a pre-Neolithic Italian aurochs. Results In this study, we applied a combined strategy employing both multiplex PCR amplifications and 454 pyrosequencing technology to sequence the complete mitochondrial genome of an 11,450-year-old aurochs specimen from Central Italy. Phylogenetic analysis of the aurochs mtDNA genome supports the conclusions from previous studies of short mtDNA fragments - namely that Italian aurochsen were genetically very similar to modern cattle breeds, but highly divergent from the North-Central European aurochsen. Conclusions Complete mitochondrial genome sequences are now available for several modern cattle and two pre-Neolithic mtDNA genomes from very different geographic areas. These data suggest that previously identified sub-groups within the widespread modern cattle mitochondrial T clade are polyphyletic, and they support the hypothesis that modern European breeds have multiple geographic origins.
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