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Genes 2017, 8(6), 165; doi:10.3390/genes8060165

Endogenous Retroviral Insertions Indicate a Secondary Introduction of Domestic Sheep Lineages to the Caucasus and Central Asia between the Bronze and Iron Age

1
Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Alfred-Kowalke-Straße 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
2
German Archaeological Institute, Im Dol 2-6, 14195 Berlin, Germany
3
Tierpark Arche Warder e.V., Langwedeler Weg 11, 24646 Warder, Germany
4
Southwest University School of Life Sciences, Key Laboratory of Freshwater Fish Reproduction and Development (Ministry of Education), Chongqing 400715, China
5
Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 Munich, Germany
6
Institute of Fine Arts, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Afrosiab Street 5/19, Tashkent 100029, Uzbekistan
7
Nasledie Ltd., Prospekt Karla Marksa 56, 355017 Stavropol, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Hofreiter
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
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Abstract

Sheep were one of the first livestock species domesticated by humans. After initial domestication in the Middle East they were spread across Eurasia. The modern distribution of endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus insertions in domestic sheep breeds suggests that over the course of millennia, successive introductions of improved lineages and selection for wool quality occurred in the Mediterranean region and most of Asia. Here we present a novel ancient DNA approach using data of endogenous retroviral insertions in Bronze and Iron Age domestic sheep from the Caucasus and Pamir mountain areas. Our findings support a secondary introduction of wool sheep from the Middle East between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age into most areas of Eurasia. View Full-Text
Keywords: archaeozoology; ancient DNA; endogenous retrovirus; mitochondrial haplotype; retrotype archaeozoology; ancient DNA; endogenous retrovirus; mitochondrial haplotype; retrotype
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Schroeder, O.; Benecke, N.; Frölich, K.; Peng, Z.; Kaniuth, K.; Sverchkov, L.; Reinhold, S.; Belinskiy, A.; Ludwig, A. Endogenous Retroviral Insertions Indicate a Secondary Introduction of Domestic Sheep Lineages to the Caucasus and Central Asia between the Bronze and Iron Age. Genes 2017, 8, 165.

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