Self-domestication in Homo sapiens: Insights from comparative genomics.
ABSTRACT: This study identifies and analyzes statistically significant overlaps between selective sweep screens in anatomically modern humans and several domesticated species. The results obtained suggest that (paleo-)genomic data can be exploited to complement the fossil record and support the idea of self-domestication in Homo sapiens, a process that likely intensified as our species populated its niche. Our analysis lends support to attempts to capture the "domestication syndrome" in terms of alterations to certain signaling pathways and cell lineages, such as the neural crest.
Project description:Behavioral changes caused by domestication in animals are an important issue in evolutionary biology. The silkworm, <i>Bombyx mori</i>, is an ideal fully domesticated insect model for studying both convergent domestication and behavior evolution. We explored the genetic basis of climbing for foraging and mimicry, two degraded behaviors during silkworm domestication, in combination of bulked segregant analysis (BSA) and selection sweep screening. One candidate gene, <i>ASNA1</i>, located in the 3-5 Mb on chromosome 19, harboring a specific non-synonymous mutation in domestic silkworm, might be involved in climbing ability. This mutation was under positive selection in Lepidoptera, strongly suggesting its potential function in silkworm domestication. Nine candidate domesticated genes related to mimicry were identified on chromosomes 13, 21, and 27. Most of the candidate domesticated genes were generally expressed at higher levels in the brain of the wild silkworm. This study provides valuable information for deciphering the molecular basis of behavioral changes associated with silkworm domestication.
Project description:The domestication scenario that led to Asian rice (Oryza sativa) is a contentious topic. Here, we have reanalyzed a previously published large-scale wild and domesticated rice data set, which was also analyzed by two studies but resulted in two contrasting domestication models. We suggest that the analysis of false-positive selective sweep regions and phylogenetic analysis of concatenated genomic regions may have been the sources that contributed to the different results. In the end, our result indicates that Asian rice originated from multiple wild progenitor subpopulations; however, de novo domestication appears to have occurred only once and the domestication alleles were transferred between rice subpopulations through introgression.
Project description:After a brief review of the most recent findings in the study of human evolution, an extensive comparison of the complete genomes of our nearest relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), of extant Homo sapiens, archaic Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen were made. The focus was on non-synonymous mutations, which consequently had an impact on protein levels and these changes were classified according to degree of effect. A total of 10,447 non-synonymous substitutions were found in which the derived allele is fixed or nearly fixed in humans as compared to chimpanzee. Their most frequent location was on chromosome 21. Their presence was then searched in the two archaic genomes. Mutations in 381 genes would imply radical amino acid changes, with a fraction of these related to olfaction and other important physiological processes. Eight new alleles were identified in the Neanderthal and/or Denisova genetic pools. Four others, possibly affecting cognition, occured both in the sapiens and two other archaic genomes. The selective sweep that gave rise to Homo sapiens could, therefore, have initiated before the modern/archaic human divergence.
Project description:Identifying genes and traits that have diverged during domestication provides key information of importance for maintaining and even increasing yield and nutrients in existing crops. A "bottom-up" population genetics approach was used to identify signatures of selection across the eggplant genome, to better understand the process of domestication. RNA-seq data were obtained for 4 wild eggplants (Solanum insanum L.) and 16 domesticated eggplants (S. melongena L.) and mapped to the eggplant genome. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) exhibiting signatures of selection in domesticates were identified as those exhibiting high FST between the 2 populations (evidence of significant divergence) and low π for the domesticated population (indicative of a selective sweep). Some of these regions appear to overlap with previously identified quantitative trait loci for domestication traits. Genes in regions of linkage disequilibrium surrounding these SNPs were searched against the Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato genomes to find orthologs. Subsequent gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis identified over-representation of GO terms related to photosynthesis and response to the environment. This work reveals genomic changes involved in eggplant domestication and improvement, and how this compares to observed changes in the tomato genome, revealing shared chromosomal regions involved in the domestication of both species.
Project description:As the evolution of miRNA genes has been found to be one of the important factors in formation of the modern type of man, we performed a comparative analysis of the evolution of miRNA genes in two archaic hominines, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens denisova, and elucidated the expression of their target mRNAs in bain.A comparative analysis of the genomes of primates, including species in the genus Homo, identified a group of miRNA genes having fixed substitutions with important implications for the evolution of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens denisova. The mRNAs targeted by miRNAs with mutations specific for Homo sapiens denisova exhibited enhanced expression during postnatal brain development in modern humans. By contrast, the expression of mRNAs targeted by miRNAs bearing variations specific for Homo sapiens neanderthalensis was shown to be enhanced in prenatal brain development.Our results highlight the importance of changes in miRNA gene sequences in the course of Homo sapiens denisova and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis evolution. The genetic alterations of miRNAs regulating the spatiotemporal expression of multiple genes in the prenatal and postnatal brain may contribute to the progressive evolution of brain function, which is consistent with the observations of fine technical and typological properties of tools and decorative items reported from archaeological Denisovan sites. The data also suggest that differential spatial-temporal regulation of gene products promoted by the subspecies-specific mutations in the miRNA genes might have occurred in the brains of Homo sapiens denisova and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, potentially contributing to the cultural differences between these two archaic hominines.
Project description:Gene duplication provides an important source of genetic raw material for phenotypic diversification, but few studies have detailed the mechanisms through which duplications produce evolutionary novelty within species. Here, we investigate how a set of recently duplicated homologs of the floral inducer FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) has contributed to sunflower domestication. We find that changes in expression of these duplicates are associated with differences in flowering behavior between wild and domesticated sunflower. In addition, we present genetic and functional evidence demonstrating that a frameshift mutation in one paralog, Helianthus annuus FT 1 (HaFT1), underlies a major QTL for flowering time and experienced a selective sweep during early domestication. Notably, this dominant-negative allele delays flowering through interference with action of another paralog, HaFT4. Together, these data reveal that changes affecting the expression, sequence, and gene interactions of HaFT paralogs have played key roles during sunflower domestication. Our findings also illustrate the important role that evolving interactions between new gene family members may play in fostering phenotypic change.
Project description:Domesticated organisms have experienced strong selective pressures directed at genes or genomic regions controlling traits of biological, agricultural or medical importance. The genome of native and domesticated pigs provide a unique opportunity for tracing the history of domestication and identifying signatures of artificial selection. Here we used whole-genome sequencing to explore the genetic relationships among the European native pig Berkshire and breeds that are distributed worldwide, and to identify genomic footprints left by selection during the domestication of Berkshire. Numerous nonsynonymous SNPs-containing genes fall into olfactory-related categories, which are part of a rapidly evolving superfamily in the mammalian genome. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian pigs rather than between domestic and wild pigs. Admixture analysis exhibited higher portion of Chinese genetic material for the Berkshire pigs, which is consistent with the historical record regarding its origin. Selective sweep analyses revealed strong signatures of selection affecting genomic regions that harbor genes underlying economic traits such as disease resistance, pork yield, fertility, tameness and body length. These discoveries confirmed the history of origin of Berkshire pig by genome-wide analysis and illustrate how domestication has shaped the patterns of genetic variation.
Project description:Jujube (<i>Ziziphus jujuba</i> Mill.) is an important perennial fruit tree with a range of interesting horticultural traits. It was domesticated from wild jujube (<i>Ziziphus acidojujuba</i>), but the genomic variation dynamics and genetic changes underlying its horticultural traits during domestication are poorly understood. Here, we report a comprehensive genome variation map based on the resequencing of 350 accessions, including wild, semi-wild and cultivated jujube plants, at a >15× depth. Using the combination of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and selective sweep analysis, we identified several candidate genes potentially involved in regulating seven domestication traits in jujube. For fruit shape and kernel shape, we integrated the GWAS approach with transcriptome profiling data, expression analysis and the transgenic validation of a candidate gene to identify a causal gene, <i>ZjFS3</i>, which encodes an ethylene-responsive transcription factor. Similarly, we identified a candidate gene for bearing-shoot length and the number of leaves per bearing shoot and two candidate genes for the seed-setting rate using GWAS. In the selective sweep analysis, we also discovered several putative genes for the presence of prickles on bearing shoots and the postharvest shelf life of fleshy fruits. This study outlines the genetic basis of jujube domestication and evolution and provides a rich genomic resource for mining other horticulturally important genes in jujube.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In contrast to wild species, which have typically evolved phenotypes over long periods of natural selection, domesticates rapidly gained human-preferred agronomic traits in a relatively short-time frame via artificial selection. Under domesticated conditions, many traits can be observed that cannot only be due to environmental alteration. In the case of silkworms, aside from genetic divergence, whether epigenetic divergence played a role in domestication is an unanswered question. The silkworm is still an enigma in that it has two DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1 and DNMT2) but their functionality is unknown. Even in particular the functionality of the widely distributed DNMT1 remains unknown in insects in general. RESULTS: By embryonic RNA interference, we reveal that knockdown of silkworm Dnmt1 caused decreased hatchability, providing the first direct experimental evidence of functional significance of insect Dnmt1. In the light of this fact and those that DNA methylation is correlated with gene expression in silkworms and some agronomic traits in domesticated organisms are not stable, we comprehensively compare silk gland methylomes of 3 domesticated (Bombyx mori) and 4 wild (Bombyx mandarina) silkworms to identify differentially methylated genes between the two. We observed 2-fold more differentiated methylated cytosinces (mCs) in domesticated silkworms as compared to their wild counterparts, suggesting a trend of increasing DNA methylation during domestication. Further study of more domesticated and wild silkworms narrowed down the domesticates' epimutations, and we were able to identify a number of differential genes. One such gene showing demethyaltion in domesticates correspondently displays lower gene expression, and more interestingly, has experienced selective sweep. A methylation-increased gene seems to result in higher expression in domesticates and the function of its Drosophila homolog was previously found to be essential for cell volume regulation, indicating a possible correlation with the enlargement of silk glands in domesticated silkworms. CONCLUSIONS: Our results imply epigenetic influences at work during domestication, which gives insight into long time historical controversies regarding acquired inheritance.
Project description:Anatomically modern humans (<i>Homo sapiens</i>, AMH) began spreading across Eurasia from Africa and adjacent Southwest Asia about 50,000-55,000 years ago (<i>ca</i> 50-55 ka). Some have argued that human genetic, fossil, and archaeological data indicate one or more prior dispersals, possibly as early as 120 ka. A recently reported age estimate of 65 ka for Madjedbebe, an archaeological site in northern Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea), if correct, offers what might be the strongest support yet presented for a pre-55-ka African AMH exodus. We review evidence for AMH arrival on an arc spanning South China through Sahul and then evaluate data from Madjedbebe. We find that an age estimate of >50 ka for this site is unlikely to be valid. While AMH may have moved far beyond Africa well before 50-55 ka, data from the region of interest offered in support of this idea are not compelling.