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The tribe Bovini contains a number of commercially and culturally important species, such as cattle. Understanding their evolutionary time scale is important for distinguishing between post-glacial and domestication-associated population expansions, but estimates of bovine divergence times have been hindered by a lack of reliable calibration points. We present a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of 481 mitochondrial D-loop sequences, including 228 radiocarbon-dated ancient DNA sequences, using a multi-demographic coalescent model. By employing the radiocarbon dates as internal calibrations, we co-estimate the bovine phylogeny and divergence times in a relaxed-clock framework. The analysis yields evidence for significant population expansions in both taurine and zebu cattle, European aurochs and yak clades. The divergence age estimates support domestication-associated expansion times (less than 12 kyr) for the major haplogroups of cattle. We compare the molecular and palaeontological estimates for the Bison-Bos divergence.

Original publication

DOI

10.1098/rsbl.2008.0073

Type

Journal article

Journal

Biol Lett

Publication Date

23/08/2008

Volume

4

Pages

370 - 374

Keywords

Animals, Bayes Theorem, Cattle, Climate, Evolution, Molecular, Haplotypes, Phylogeny, Population Dynamics, Sequence Analysis, DNA