Genomic analysis of indigenous goats in Southwest Asia reveals evidence of ancient adaptive introgression related to desert climate


Understanding how evolutionary pressures related to climate change have shaped the current genetic background of domestic animals is a fundamental pursuit of biology. Here, we generated whole-genome sequencing data from native goat populations in Iraq and Pakistan. Combined with previously published data on modern, ancient (Late Neolithic to Medieval periods), and wild Capra species worldwide, we explored the genetic population structure, ancestry components, and signatures of natural positive selection in native goat populations in Southwest Asia (SWA). Results revealed that the genetic structure of SWA goats was deeply influenced by gene flow from the eastern Mediterranean during the Chalcolithic period, which may reflect adaptation to gradual warming and aridity in the region. Furthermore, comparative genomic analysis revealed adaptive introgression of the KITLG locus from the Nubian ibex (C. nubiana) into African and SWA goats. The frequency of the selected allele at this locus was significantly higher among goat populations located near northeastern Africa. These results provide new insights into the genetic composition and history of goat populations in the SWA region.

Publication Title

Zoological Research