• search hit 46 of 990
Back to Result List

Tracing Changes in Space and Time

  • The horse is a fascinating animal symbolizing power, beauty, strength and grace. Among all the animal species domesticated the horse had the largest impact on the course of human history due to its importance for warfare and transportation. Studying the process of horse domestication contributes to the knowledge about the history of horses and even of our own species. Research based on molecular methods has increasingly focused on the genetic basis of horse domestication. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analyses of modern and ancient horses detected immense maternal diversity, probably due to many mares that contributed to the domestic population. However, mtDNA does not provide an informative phylogeographic structure. In contrast, Y chromosome analyses displayed almost complete uniformity in modern stallions but relatively high diversity in a few ancient horses. Further molecular markers that seem to be well suited to infer the domestication history of horses or genetic and phenotypic changes during this process are loci associated withThe horse is a fascinating animal symbolizing power, beauty, strength and grace. Among all the animal species domesticated the horse had the largest impact on the course of human history due to its importance for warfare and transportation. Studying the process of horse domestication contributes to the knowledge about the history of horses and even of our own species. Research based on molecular methods has increasingly focused on the genetic basis of horse domestication. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analyses of modern and ancient horses detected immense maternal diversity, probably due to many mares that contributed to the domestic population. However, mtDNA does not provide an informative phylogeographic structure. In contrast, Y chromosome analyses displayed almost complete uniformity in modern stallions but relatively high diversity in a few ancient horses. Further molecular markers that seem to be well suited to infer the domestication history of horses or genetic and phenotypic changes during this process are loci associated with phenotypic traits. This doctoral thesis consists of three different parts for which I analyzed various single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with coat color, locomotion or Y chromosomal variation of horses. These SNPs were genotyped in 350 ancient horses from the Chalcolithic (5,000 BC) to the Middle Ages (11th century). The distribution of the samples ranges from China to the Iberian Peninsula and Iceland. By applying multiplexed next-generation sequencing (NGS) I sequenced short amplicons covering the relevant positions: i) eight coat-color-associated mutations in six genes to deduce the coat color phenotype; ii) the so-called ’Gait-keeper’ SNP in the DMRT3 gene to screen for the ability to amble; iii) 16 SNPs previously detected in ancient horses to infer the corresponding haplotype. Based on these data I investigated the occurrence and frequencies of alleles underlying the respective phenotypes as well as Y chromosome haplotypes at different times and regions. Also, selection coefficients for several Y chromosome lineages or phenotypes were estimated. Concerning coat color differences in ancient horses my work constitutes the most comprehensive study to date. I detected an increase of chestnut horses in the Middle Ages as well as differential selection for spotted and solid phenotypes over time which reflects changing human preferences. With regard to ambling horses, the corresponding allele was present in medieval English and Icelandic horses. Based on these results I argue that Norse settlers, who frequently invaded parts of Britain, brought ambling individuals to Iceland from the British Isles which can be regarded the origin of this trait. Moreover, these settlers appear to have selected for ambling in Icelandic horses. Relating to the third trait, the paternal diversity, these findings represent the largest ancient dataset of Y chromosome variation in non-humans. I proved the existence of several Y chromosome haplotypes in early domestic horses. The decline of Y chromosome variation coincides with the movement of nomadic peoples from the Eurasian steppes and later with different breeding practices in the Roman period. In conclusion, positive selection was estimated for several phenotypes/lineages in different regions or times which indicates that these were preferred by humans. Furthermore, I could successfully infer the distribution and dispersal of horses in association with human movements and actions. Thereby, a better understanding of the influence of people on the changing appearance and genetic diversity of domestic horses could be gained. My results also emphasize the close relationship of ancient genetics and archeology or history and that only in combination well-founded conclusions can be reached.show moreshow less

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author:Saskia Wutke
Subtitle (English):Paternal Diversity and Phenotypic Traits during Horse Domestication
Advisor:Arne Ludwig, Michael Hofreiter
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2016
Year of Completion:2016
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Granting Institution:Universität Potsdam
Date of final exam:2016/04/11
Release Date:2016/12/13
Tag:Y chromosome; ancient DNA; coat colour; domestication; equus caballus; horse; locomotion
Pagenumber:x, 84
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
9 Geschichte und Geografie / 93 Geschichte des Altertums (bis ca. 499), Archäologie / 930 Geschichte des Altertums bis ca. 499, Archäologie