The main focus of this project is to identify and characterize genetic variations caused by the domestication of animals such as pigs or cattle. In a recent study, we showed that the first pig (Sus scrofa) domesticates in northern Germany (~4600 BC) were already used by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and that changes in coat color coding genes occurred very early in the domestication process. Currently, we are conducting whole genome sequencing of ancient pigs to detect other phenotypically relevant variations that were selected by early farmers. The comparison of ancient and modern pig genomes will serve as a basis for the identification of molecular factors that modified our meat resources over time. This study will give important insights into the impact of domestication on meat quality (and, therefore, on our diet and health) as well as into human (mal)adaptation to these dietary changes.
For more details see also the corresponding Junior Research Group.
The project is supported by the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes.