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, 107 (7), 2807-12

Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Reveals Complexity of Indigenous North American Turkey Domestication

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Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Reveals Complexity of Indigenous North American Turkey Domestication

Camilla F Speller et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

Although the cultural and nutritive importance of the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) to precontact Native Americans and contemporary people worldwide is clear, little is known about the domestication of this bird compared to other domesticates. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of 149 turkey bones and 29 coprolites from 38 archaeological sites (200 BC-AD 1800) reveals a unique domesticated breed in the precontact Southwestern United States. Phylogeographic analyses indicate that this domestic breed originated from outside the region, but rules out the South Mexican domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) as a progenitor. A strong genetic bottleneck within the Southwest turkeys also reflects intensive human selection and breeding. This study points to at least two occurrences of turkey domestication in precontact North America and illuminates the intensity and sophistication of New World animal breeding practices.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Southwest archaeological sites from which turkey samples were obtained (1): Grass Mesa, LeMoc Shelter, Hamlet de la Olla, Aldea Sierritas, McPhee Village, Hanging Rock, House Creek Village, Escalante Pueblo; (2) Shields Pueblo, Mockingbird Mesa, Sand Canyon Pueblo, Stanton's Site, Castle Rock Pueblo, Ida Jean Site, Albert Porter; (3) Bluff Great House, Comb Wash, Turkey Pen; (4) Hedley Ruin; (5) Aztec Ruins; (6) Antelope House and Tsa-ta'a, Canyon de Chelly; (7) Keet Seel; (8) Pueblo Bonito; (9) Los Alamos, Alamo Canyon, Rainbow House; (10) South Pueblo and Forked Lightning (Pecos National Monument); (11) Gran Quivira; (12) El Morro; (13) Gila Cliff Dwellings; (14) Tonto National Monument; (15) Point of Pines; (16) Grasshopper Pueblo; (17) Calderón Site (Adapted with permission of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, 1999).
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Median-joining network depicting the relationship of ancient and modern D-loop haplotypes obtained in this study. Each node depicts a separate D-loop haplotype, and node sizes are proportional to haplotype frequencies in the data set. Lines between nodes represent a single nucleotide change, except where perpendicular hashes represent single changes. Gray areas within H1 and H2 nodes indicate haplotypes recovered from Southwest archaeological bone and coprolite samples. In H3, the pink area indicates haplotypes recovered from historic M. g. gallopavo skin samples, whereas the white areas indicate haplotypes obtained from modern commercially raised turkey samples extracted in this study.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Median-joining network displaying the relationships between the obtained D-loop haplotypes and available domestic and wild turkey reference sequences (15, 16). Solid colors represent haplotypes observed in modern wild turkey populations (obtained from GenBank), whereas the gray areas represent the 12 haplotypes obtained from the Southwest archaeological bones and coprolites. In H3, the pink area indicates haplotypes recovered from historic M. g. gallopavo skin samples, whereas the white areas indicate modern domestic turkey haplotypes extracted in this study, as well as those obtained from GenBank (identified only to the species level as M. gallopavo).
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Historic range of the wild turkey subspecies in North America (5).

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