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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research EDAN

Ancient DNA


This project aims to disentangle the complex story of pigs and cattle in the Netherlands and move beyond the wild-domestic dichotomy, which has been rendered problematic due to hybridization between cattle and pig and their wild counterparts. Not much is known on how or why this hybridization occurred and whether or not it was due to management strategies. Therefore, the aim is to examine signatures in the ancient DNA of pig, cattle and their wild counterparts. One of the goals is to pinpoint the amount of original Anatolian DNA and European wild boar DNA present, in order to estimate the degree to which this hybridization occurred. Procedurally, this analysis involves estimating the scale and intensity of gene flow between domestic animals with a genetic heritage in the Near East and the indigenous wild boar and aurochs. Furthermore, traits that were subject to selection will be identified by looking at selection pressures that occurred in the population; more specifically, this involves looking into “islands of domestication”, a term which refers to those specific parts of the genome that might be linked to the domestication process. All of this, together with the other sub-projects, will shed more light on the management strategies that were involved in animal husbandry during the Neolithic in the Dutch wetlands.

Last modified:15 December 2020 08.40 a.m.