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, 275 (1645), 1849-55

Genetic Analyses Reveal Independent Domestication Origins of Eurasian Reindeer

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Genetic Analyses Reveal Independent Domestication Origins of Eurasian Reindeer

Knut H Røed et al. Proc Biol Sci.

Abstract

Although there is little doubt that the domestication of mammals was instrumental for the modernization of human societies, even basic features of the path towards domestication remain largely unresolved for many species. Reindeer are considered to be in the early phase of domestication with wild and domestic herds still coexisting widely across Eurasia. This provides a unique model system for understanding how the early domestication process may have taken place. We analysed mitochondrial sequences and nuclear microsatellites in domestic and wild herds throughout Eurasia to address the origin of reindeer herding and domestication history. Our data demonstrate independent origins of domestic reindeer in Russia and Fennoscandia. This implies that the Saami people of Fennoscandia domesticated their own reindeer independently of the indigenous cultures in western Russia. We also found that augmentation of local reindeer herds by crossing with wild animals has been common. However, some wild reindeer populations have not contributed to the domestic gene pool, suggesting variation in domestication potential among populations. These differences may explain why geographically isolated indigenous groups have been able to make the technological shift from mobile hunting to large-scale reindeer pastoralism independently.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) Median-joining network for mitochondrial DNA haplotypes found in Eurasian reindeer. Haplotypes found only in wild herds are represented by squares, whereas the triangles represent domestic haplotypes. Circles represent haplotypes found in both wild and domestic herds. Blue haplotypes are found in Fennoscandia, whereas the orange and green haplotypes represent western and eastern Russia, respectively. Five different haplotype clusters (haplogroups, I–V) are encircled with different colours. Haplotypes that are directly mentioned in the text are labelled with capital letters. (b) Haplogroup frequencies in wild (squares) and domestic (triangles) reindeer herds. Populations are pooled according to geography and whether they are wild or domestic herds: (1) southwestern Norway wild (Nor-Wild 6–8), (2) central Norway wild (Nor-Wild 1–5), (3) central Norway domestic (Nor-Dom 1–3), (4) northern Norway domestic (Nor-Dom 4–6), (5) northern Finland domestic (Fin-Dom 2), (6) eastern Finland domestic (Fin-Dom 1), (7) eastern Finland wild (Fin-Wild 1), (8) northwestern Russia domestic (Rus-Dom 6 and 7), (9) north–central Russia domestic (Rus-Dom 3–5), (10) southeastern Russia domestic (Rus-Dom 2), (11) southeastern Russia wild (Rus-Wild 2), (12) northeastern Russia wild (Rus-Wild 1), (13) northeastern Russia domestic (Rus-Dom 1; see table S1 in the electronic supplementary material). Colours representing the different haplogroups are the same that are used to mark them in (a). Green lines in the map indicate the distribution range of Eurasian reindeer.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Population dendrograms as inferred from microsatellite and mtDNA data. Wild and domestic populations are represented by squares and triangles, respectively. Geographical origins are represented by different colours. Blue, Fennoscandia; Orange, western Russia; Green, eastern Russia. Two putative origins for domestication (Russia and Fennoscandia) are indicated by filled circles between the trees.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Clustering analysis in Eurasian reindeer herds, using (a–c) Bayesian assignment and (d) a factorial correspondence analysis. (a) Mean likelihood (L(K) (±s.d.)) over 10 runs dividing the entire dataset into K populations, for K values between 1 and 10. (b) Delta (K) where the modal value of the distribution is considered as the highest level of structuring, in our case three clusters. (c) Individual assignment to each of the three clusters, where the numbers refer to the same populations as given in figure legend 1b. Each individual is represented by a line and the proportion of each colour indicates proportion of ancestry from each group. (d) Factorial correspondence analysis of Eurasian reindeer, after excluding wild reindeer from central Norway. The graphics shows the two first axes. Wild and domestic individuals are symbolized by squares and triangles, respectively, and the colours are the same as given in figure legend 2.

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