A Genomic Approach for Distinguishing between Recent and Ancient Admixture as Applied to Cattle

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Genomic data facilitate opportunities to track complex population histories of divergence and gene flow. We developed a metric, scaled block size (SBS), which uses the nonrecombined block size of introgressed regions of chromosomes to differentiate between recent and ancient types of admixture, and applied it to the reconstruction of admixture in cattle. Cattle are descendants of 2 independently domesticated lineages, taurine and indicine, which diverged more than 200□000 years ago. Several breeds have hybrid ancestry between these divergent lineages. Using 47□506 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, we analyzed the genomic architecture of the ancestry of 1369 individuals. We focused on 4 groups with admixed ancestry, including 2 anciently admixed African breeds (n 58; n 43), New World cattle of Spanish origin (n 51), and known recent hybrids (n 46). We estimated the ancestry of chromosomal regions for each individual and used the SBS metric to differentiate the timing of admixture among groups and among individuals within groups. By comparing SBS values of test individuals with standards with known recent hybrid ancestry, we were able to differentiate individuals of recent hybrid origin from other admixed cattle. We also estimated ancestry at the chromosomal scale. The X chromosome exhibits reduced indicine ancestry in recent hybrid, New World, and western African cattle, with virtually no evidence of indicine ancestry in New World cattle.

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