Tracking Five Millennia of Horse Management with Extensive Ancient Genome Time Series
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Antoine Fages, Kristian Hanghøj, Naveed Khan, Charleen Gaunitz, Andaine Seguin-Orlando, Michela Leonardi, Christian McCrory Constantz, Cristina Gamba, Khaled A.S. Al-Rasheid, Silvia Albizuri, Ahmed H. Alfarhan, Morten Allentoft, Saleh Alquraishi, David Anthony, Nurbol Baimukhanov, James H. Barrett, Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, Norbert Benecke, Eloísa Bernáldez-Sánchez, Luis Berrocal-Rangel & 101 others
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. Genome-wide data from 278 ancient equids provide insights into how ancient equestrian civilizations managed, exchanged, and bred horses and indicate vast loss of genetic diversity as well as the existence of two extinct lineages of horses that failed to contribute to modern domestic animals.
|Publication status||Published - 30 May 2019|
- ancient DNA, animal breeding, diversity, domestication, equestrian civilizations, extinct lineages, horses, management, mules, selection