I will analyze the changes in the genome of the pig during speciation, domestication and selection at the molecular level. Domestication and selection have resulted in a large number of distinct breeds worldwide with very distinct characteristics. Unique are also the availability of 12 closely related pig species that have diverged over a time span of 1 to 10 million years. Furthermore, the availability of a high quality genome sequence of the pig by the end of 2009 and the recent advances in next generation sequencing technology makes the SelSweep proposal extremely timely. Within the SelSweep project I will explore the genes and genomic regions that are and have been under strong selection during speciation, early domestication and during subsequent development of specific breeds in the pig. The results of the project will substantially advance our knowledge of evolutionary biology at the molecular level. Moreover, knowledge about the genes affected by selection opens up new directions for further improvement of this important livestock species. The direct sequencing of individuals from a variety of populations using next generation sequencing enables an unbiased capture of the full breadth of genetic variation in the porcine genome addressing both single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as well as copy number variants (CNVs). The analysis will be done using a previously established porcine HapMap population consisting of domestic breeds from China, Europe and the US, wild boar populations from across the world as well as museum samples representing ancient pig populations. Also included in the panel are other Suidae enabling the identification of the ancestral alleles further strengthening the identification of selective sweeps in the porcine genome.
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