• Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARCHAIC - The archaeogenetics of Iberian cattle: investigating their origins, evolution and improvement

 

The aurochs (Bos primigenius) is the wild ancestor of domestic cattle and its evolutionary history is mainly unknown. Iberian aurochs disappeared in the end of the Chalcolithic, having coexisted with domestic cattle of Middle Eastern origin for millennia. Probably, either hybridization between wild and domestic cattle and/or local domestication of aurochs occurred. Iberian native cattle may represent relics from extinct aurochsen, and show high genetic diversity despite the notable geographic distance of this territory from the primary Near Eastern centre of domestication.
It is agreed that diachronic (spanning long time scales) ancient DNA studies are required to infer the origins and evolutionary trajectories of domestic animals. The MAJOR AIM of the ARCHAIC project is to perform a phylochronological study, by using cutting-edge molecular biology methods, to capture ancestral variation and to unveil the origins and modes of improvement of Iberian and North African cattle. A MULTIDISCIPLINARY approach – merging zooarchaeology and genomics – will be employed, which is critical to capture the temporal and geographical dimensions of the history that shaped the genetic composition of cattle. Catarina Ginja (P.I.) was successful in recovering DNA from Iberian remains as old as 16,000 years. ARCHAIC’s team includes experts from national institutions, but also from renowned foreign archaeogenetics groups, namely the Archaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University, and the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, which will be key for accomplishing this challenging project.
ARCHAIC will allow to: i) Depict changes within Bos populations over time, at a fine scale, along a transect from Western Europe to North Africa; ii) Scrutinize the degree and time of admixtures between aurochs and domestic cattle; iii) Identify and date events of cattle improvement, i.e. to investigate past genetic variability in association with human driven breeding practices; iv) Provide scientific information regarding processes of evolution supportive to local breed conservation plans.

 

To visit the official website of this project, please click here.

 
Principal Investigator:
 
Catarina Jorge Ginja

Catarina Jorge Ginja

Auxiliary Researcher

 
Research Team:
 
Ana Elisabete Godinho Pires

Ana Elisabete Godinho Pires

Post-Doc Researcher

 
Antonio Muñoz Mérida

Antonio Muñoz Mérida

Principal Researcher

 
Irene Ureña

Irene Ureña

Post-Doc Researcher

 
Lucía Perez-Pardal

Lucía Perez-Pardal

Post-Doc Researcher

 
Simon Jonathan Morton Davis

Simon Jonathan Morton Davis

Auxiliary Researcher

 
 
Other Members:
Rita Rasteiro; Anders Götherström; António Valera; Carlos Fernández; Ceiridwen Edwards; Cleia Detry; Elizabeth Wright; Emma Svensson; João Cardoso; Nelson Almeida; Pablo Arias Cabal; Silvia Valenzuela
 
State:
On going
 
Proponent Institution:
InBIO/UP - ICETA
 
Funded by:
FCT
 
Dates:
2016
 
Participant Institutions:
Departamento de Historia, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de León (FFL/UL) Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield Evolutionary Biology Centre from Uppsala University (EBC/UU) Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa (FL/ULisboa) Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FFC/FC/UL) Instituto Terra e Memória (ITM) Department of Biological Sciences, University of Huddersfield Universidad de Cantabria Universidade Aberta (Uaberta) Universidade do Algarve (UAlg) University of Leicester (UoL) Rede de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Biologia Evolutiva (InBIO/ICETAPorto/UP) Stockholm University Archaeological Research Laboratory (AFL) Centro de Ecologia, Evolução e Alterações Ambientais (CE3C/FC/UL)