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Ancient pigs reveal a near-complete genomic turnover following their introduction to Europe

Frantz, Laurent A.F.; Haile, James; Lin, Audrey T.; Scheu, Amelie; Geörg, Christina; Benecke, Norbert; Alexander, Michelle; Linderholm, Anna; Mullin, Victoria E.; Daly, Kevin G.; Battista, Vincent M.; Price, Max; Gron, Kurt J.; Alexandri, Panoraia; Arbogast, Rose-Marie; Arbuckle, Benjamin; Bӑlӑşescu, Adrian; Barnett, Ross; Bartosiewicz, László; Baryshnikov, Gennady; Bonsall, Clive; Borić, Dušan; Boroneanţ, Adina; Bulatović, Jelena; Çakirlar, Canan; Carretero, José-Miguel; Chapman, John; Church, Mike; Crooijmans, Richard; De Cupere, Bea; Detry, Cleia; Dimitrijevic, Vesna; Dumitraşcu, Valentin; du Plessis, Louis; Edwards, Ceiridwen J.; Erek, Cevdet Merih; Erim-Özdoğan, Aslı; Ervynck, Anton; Fulgione, Domenico; Gligor, Mihai; Götherström, Anders; Gourichon, Lionel; Groenen, Martien A.M.; Helmer, Daniel; Hongo, Hitomi; Horwitz, Liora K.; Irving-Pease, Evan K.; Lebrasseur, Ophélie; Lesur, Joséphine; Malone, Caroline; Manaseryan, Ninna; Marciniak, Arkadiusz; Martlew, Holley; Mashkour, Marjan...

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Laurent A.F. Frantz

James Haile

Audrey T. Lin

Amelie Scheu

Christina Geörg

Norbert Benecke

Michelle Alexander

Anna Linderholm

Victoria E. Mullin

Kevin G. Daly

Vincent M. Battista

Max Price

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Dr Kurt Gron
Research Development Manager

Panoraia Alexandri

Rose-Marie Arbogast

Benjamin Arbuckle

Adrian Bӑlӑşescu

Ross Barnett

László Bartosiewicz

Gennady Baryshnikov

Clive Bonsall

Dušan Borić

Adina Boroneanţ

Jelena Bulatović

Canan Çakirlar

José-Miguel Carretero

John Chapman

Richard Crooijmans

Bea De Cupere

Cleia Detry

Vesna Dimitrijevic

Valentin Dumitraşcu

Louis du Plessis

Ceiridwen J. Edwards

Cevdet Merih Erek

Aslı Erim-Özdoğan

Anton Ervynck

Domenico Fulgione

Mihai Gligor

Anders Götherström

Lionel Gourichon

Martien A.M. Groenen

Daniel Helmer

Hitomi Hongo

Liora K. Horwitz

Evan K. Irving-Pease

Ophélie Lebrasseur

Joséphine Lesur

Caroline Malone

Ninna Manaseryan

Arkadiusz Marciniak

Holley Martlew

Marjan Mashkour

Roger Matthews

Giedre Motuzaite Matuzeviciute

Sepideh Maziar

Erik Meijaard

Tom McGovern

Hendrik-Jan Megens

Rebecca Miller

Azadeh Fatemeh Mohaseb

Jörg Orschiedt

David Orton

Anastasia Papathanasiou

Mike Parker Pearson

Ron Pinhasi

Darko Radmanović

François-Xavier Ricaut

Mike Richards

Richard Sabin

Lucia Sarti

Wolfram Schier

Shiva Sheikhi

Elisabeth Stephan

John R. Stewart

Simon Stoddart

Antonio Tagliacozzo

Nenad Tasić

Katerina Trantalidou

Anne Tresset

Cristina Valdiosera

Youri van den Hurk

Sophie Van Poucke

Jean-Denis Vigne

Alexander Yanevich

Andrea Zeeb-Lanz

Alexandros Triantafyllidis

M. Thomas P. Gilbert

Jörg Schibler

Melinda Zeder

Joris Peters

Thomas Cucchi

Daniel G. Bradley

Keith Dobney

Joachim Burger

Allowen Evin

Linus Girdland-Flink

Greger Larson


Archaeological evidence indicates that pig domestication had begun by ∼10,500 y before the present (BP) in the Near East, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that pigs arrived in Europe alongside farmers ∼8,500 y BP. A few thousand years after the introduction of Near Eastern pigs into Europe, however, their characteristic mtDNA signature disappeared and was replaced by haplotypes associated with European wild boars. This turnover could be accounted for by substantial gene flow from local European wild boars, although it is also possible that European wild boars were domesticated independently without any genetic contribution from the Near East. To test these hypotheses, we obtained mtDNA sequences from 2,099 modern and ancient pig samples and 63 nuclear ancient genomes from Near Eastern and European pigs. Our analyses revealed that European domestic pigs dating from 7,100 to 6,000 y BP possessed both Near Eastern and European nuclear ancestry, while later pigs possessed no more than 4% Near Eastern ancestry, indicating that gene flow from European wild boars resulted in a near-complete disappearance of Near East ancestry. In addition, we demonstrate that a variant at a locus encoding black coat color likely originated in the Near East and persisted in European pigs. Altogether, our results indicate that while pigs were not independently domesticated in Europe, the vast majority of human-mediated selection over the past 5,000 y focused on the genomic fraction derived from the European wild boars, and not on the fraction that was selected by early Neolithic farmers over the first 2,500 y of the domestication process.


Frantz, L. A., Haile, J., Lin, A. T., Scheu, A., Geörg, C., Benecke, N., …Larson, G. (2019). Ancient pigs reveal a near-complete genomic turnover following their introduction to Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(35), 17231-17238.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 24, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2019
Publication Date Aug 27, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 13, 2019
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Print ISSN 0027-8424
Electronic ISSN 1091-6490
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 116
Issue 35
Pages 17231-17238


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (1.2 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

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