Ancient DNA sheds light on the ancestry of pre-hispanic Canarian pigs

Iñigo Olalde, Juan Capote, María C. Del-Arco, Pablo Atoche, Teresa Delgado, Rafael González-Anton, Jorge Pais, Marcel Amills, Carles Lalueza-Fox, Oscar Ramírez

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10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Olalde et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Canarian Black (CB) pigs belong to an autochthonous and endangered breed, which is spread throughout the Canarian archipelago. It is commonly accepted that they represent a relic of the pig populations that were bred by the Berbers in North Africa over millennia. It is important to note that the geographic isolation of the Canary Islands has preserved this genetic legacy intact from foreign introgressions until the Spanish conquest of the archipelago in the 15th century. Ten years ago, it was demonstrated that, in CB pigs, the frequency of the Asian A2 cytochrome-b haplogroup reached 73%. The current work aimed at investigating whether this observation is explained by either a recent or an ancient introgression of CB pigs with Far Eastern pigs. Results: Genetic analyses of 23 ancient samples from pre-hispanic Canarian pigs (420 to 2500 years before present) showed that Near Eastern and Far Eastern genetic signatures were totally absent in the primitive Canarian pre-hispanic pigs. Indeed, the haplotypes detected in these pigs were closely related to those of North African and European wild boars. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the high frequency of the Far Eastern mitochondrial cytochrome B A2 haplotype in modern Canarian Black pigs probably corresponds to a relatively recent introgression with British breeds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalGenetics Selection And Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2015


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