Polish journal of veterinary sciences

Complete mitochondrial genome of wild aurochs (Bos primigenius) reconstructed from ancient DNA.

PMID 23971194


Extinct aurochs (Bos primigenius), accepted as the ancestor of domestic cattle, was one of the largest wild animals inhabiting Europe, Asia and North Africa. The gradual process of aurochs extinction finished in Poland in 1627, were the last recorded aurochs, a female, died. Some aspects of cattle domestication history and the distribution of aurochs genetic material among modern cattle breeds still remain unclear. Analyses of ancient DNA (aDNA) from bone sample deliver new genetic information about extinct wild aurochs as well as modern cattle phylogeny. DNA was extracted from a fragment of aurochs fossil bone found in the Pisz Forest, Poland. The sample was radiocarbon-dated to about 1500 yBP. The aDNA was used for Whole Genome Amplification in order to form a DNA bank. Auroch mitochondrial DNA sequences were amplified using sets of 41 primers overlapping the whole mtDNA, cloned and sequenced. The sequence of the whole mitochondrial genome was reconstructed and deposed in GenBank [GenBank:JQ437479]. Based on the phylogenetic analyses of the Bovine mitochondrial genomes, a phylogenetic tree was created. As expected, the tree clearly shows that the mtDNA sequence of the analyzed PWA (Polish Wild Aurochs) individual belongs to haplogroup P. In the course of the comparative mtDNA analysis we identified 30 nucleotide marker positions for haplogroup P and nine unique PWA differences compared to the two remaining haplotype P representatives. Our analysis provides the next step to the reconstruction of the demographic history of this extinct but still exciting species.