Goat domestication and breeding: a jigsaw of historical, biological and molecular data with missing pieces

M Amills, J Capote, G Tosser-Klopp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics Domestic goats (Capra hircus) are spread across the five continents with a census of 1 billion individuals. The worldwide population of goats descends from a limited number of bezoars (Capra aegagrus) domesticated 10 000 YBP (years before the present) in the Fertile Crescent. The extraordinary adaptability and hardiness of goats favoured their rapid spread over the Old World, reaching the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Africa 7000 YBP and 2000 YBP respectively. Molecular studies have revealed one major mitochondrial haplogroup A and five less frequent haplogroups B, C, D, F and G. Moreover, the analysis of autosomal and Y-chromosome markers has evidenced an appreciable geographic differentiation. The implementation of new molecular technologies, such as whole-genome sequencing and genome-wide genotyping, allows for the exploration of caprine diversity at an unprecedented scale, thus providing new insights into the evolutionary history of goats. In spite of a number of pitfalls, the characterization of the functional elements of the goat genome is expected to play a key role in understanding the genetic determination of economically relevant traits. Genomic selection and genome editing also hold great potential, particularly for improving traits that cannot be modified easily by traditional selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-644
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • genetic diversity
  • goat breed
  • mitochondrial and nuclear markers
  • next-generation sequencing


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