The mosaic genome of indigenous African cattle as a unique genetic resource for African pastoralism

Kwondo Kim, Taehyung Kwon, Tadelle Dessie, DongAhn Yoo, Okeyo Ally Mwai, Jisung Jang, Samsun Sung, SaetByeol Lee, Bashir Salim, Jaehoon Jung, Heesu Jeong, Getinet Mekuriaw Tarekegn, Abdulfatai Tijjani, Dajeong Lim, Seoae Cho, Sung Jong Oh, Hak-Kyo Lee, Jaemin Kim, Choongwon Jeong, Stephen KempOlivier Hanotte, Heebal Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cattle pastoralism plays a central role in human livelihood in Africa. However, the genetic history of its success remains unknown. Here, through whole-genome sequence analysis of 172 indigenous African cattle from 16 breeds representative of the main cattle groups, we identify a major taurine × indicine cattle admixture event dated to circa 750-1,050 yr ago, which has shaped the genome of today's cattle in the Horn of Africa. We identify 16 loci linked to African environmental adaptations across crossbred animals showing an excess of taurine or indicine ancestry. These include immune-, heat-tolerance- and reproduction-related genes. Moreover, we identify one highly divergent locus in African taurine cattle, which is putatively linked to trypanotolerance and present in crossbred cattle living in trypanosomosis-infested areas. Our findings indicate that a combination of past taurine and recent indicine admixture-derived genetic resources is at the root of the present success of African pastoralism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1110
Number of pages12
JournalNature Genetics
Volume52
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2020

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