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From bellow to moo is now testable?

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long-horned European wild ox/Sturm

From ScienceDaily:

Ancient wild ox genome reveals complex cow ancestry

The ancestry of domesticated cattle proves more complex than previously thought, reports a paper published in the open access journal Genome Biology.

The team of researchers discovered clear evidence of breeding between wild British aurochs and early domesticated cattle.

David MacHugh, senior author on the study from the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin, said: “Our results show the ancestors of modern British and Irish breeds share more genetic similarities with this ancient specimen than other European cattle. This suggests that early British farmers may have restocked their domesticated herds with wild aurochs.” More.

Rob Sheldon writes,

What is being done in this paper is of greater significance than perhaps first appears. Bones of ancient animals (in this case a wild ox), are being exhumed and the DNA compared to modern animals. This technique is capable of reconstructing genetic history going back 20,000 to 200,000 years (though the more ancient numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.) In other words, historical science is not simply “reconstruction” from the present, but can actually be tested in exactly the same way as the present. This means we should not adopt, as Ken Ham suggests, a permanent divide between the historical and modern sciences. It also means that “recent evolution” is eminently testable.

Yes, testable. When evolution moves from theory (as in Darwinism) to history (as in evidence from genome mapping), we get information, not ideology. SeeWhat the fossils told us in their own words

Here’s the abstract:

Background: Domestication of the now-extinct wild aurochs, Bos primigenius, gave rise to the two major domestic extant cattle taxa, B. taurus and B. indicus. While previous genetic studies have shed some light on the evolutionary relationships between European aurochs and modern cattle, important questions remain unanswered, including the phylogenetic status of aurochs, whether gene flow from aurochs into early domestic populations occurred, and which genomic regions were subject to selection processes during and after domestication. Here, we address these questions using whole-genome sequencing data generated from an approximately 6,750-year-old British aurochs bone and genome sequence data from 81 additional cattle plus genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data from a diverse panel of 1,225 modern animals.

Results: Phylogenomic analyses place the aurochs as a distinct outgroup to the domestic B. taurus lineage, supporting the predominant Near Eastern origin of European cattle. Conversely, traditional British and Irish breeds share more genetic variants with this aurochs specimen than other European populations, supporting localized gene flow from aurochs into the ancestors of modern British and Irish cattle, perhaps through purposeful restocking by early herders in Britain. Finally, the functions of genes showing evidence for positive selection in B. taurus are enriched for neurobiology, growth, metabolism and immunobiology, suggesting that these biological processes have been important in the domestication of cattle. Open access – Stephen D E Park, David A. Magee, Paul A. McGettigan, Matthew D. Teasdale, Ceiridwen J. Edwards, Amanda J. Lohan, Alison Murphy, Martin Braud, Mark T. Donoghue, Yuan Liu, Andrew T. Chamberlain, Kévin Rue-Albrecht, Steven Schroeder, Charles Spillane, Shuaishuai Tai, Daniel G. Bradley, Tad S. Sonstegard, Brendan J. Loftus, David E. MacHugh. Genome sequencing of the extinct Eurasian wild aurochs, Bos primigenius, illuminates the phylogeography and evolution of cattle. Genome Biology, 2015; 16 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s13059-015-0790-2

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5 Replies to “From bellow to moo is now testable?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    News:

    A query: if these diverse species are interfertile, are we really looking at diversity and hybridisation in one species? (I have similar questions about dogs and wolves, modern humans and neandertals, also red deer and American Elk which IIRC apparently interbreed in New Zealand.)

    Over the past decade or so, here, a question has arisen on interbreeding between our zenaida doves and the recently immigrating Eurasian collared dove.

    Similarly, the common ground dove here, in Barbados and in Jamaica are noticeably different in plumage but seem otherwise very similar.

    I recall, the brown trout of the UK was thought to be multiple species until breeding proved otherwise.

    I guess we are back to: what is a species?

    KF

    PS: On genetic data recovery from bones and reconstructed timelines, I suspect Ham and co would not dispute the genes but the reconstructed timeline. Beyond maybe ~ 3 – 5,000 BC record gets mighty scarce to cross-check timelines. The origins/historic science vs observational/operational here and now science issue points to the difference of direct access to what is temporally or spatially remote, raising issues on the vera causa, explanation on observed adequate cause, issue. I guess Vy etc will likely have somewhat to say. (When they do so, I would like to hear some reference to stellar observations, astrophysics and cosmology. At least, to some links.)

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    “discovered clear evidence of breeding between wild British aurochs and early domesticated cattle.”

    And Evolution teaches us that both descended from “Noah Cow”. All cattle can be traced back to “Noah Cow”. My Darwin Book tells me so.

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    If both European and Indian cattle, which can interbreed quite well, have now been established to share the DNA of the aurochs, then its clear that there was only ever 1 species of cattle, plus the separate and unrelated water buffalo and cape buffalo, etc.

    So, yeah, here in the whiz-bang 21st Century, what does “species” mean? Or are we still making it up as we go along?

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    i say there is no such thing as species in biology. jUst a mechanism for biological change that might reach enough change that no more breeding can be done between diverging populations.

    Ken ham is right about dividing real and historical science.
    Is genetics proven to be trail and so extrapolation backwards tells origin tales.?
    I don’t think so. Genes are changed by other mechanisms that change bodies.
    Other threads on this and people’s looks prove it.
    maybe there was interbreeding between wild/domesicated cattle in big ways. However probably its just that the cattle taken to Britain were still closer in genes to the wild cattle. later on the european cattle changed more for many reasons. it could just be a timeline and island separation issue.
    It was only 3500 years ago at earlist by the way.

  5. 5
    Vy says:

    News, there’s a problem with the “Here’s the abstract” link. It has two quotation marks too many attached at the end.

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