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Phylogenies using mtDNA and SRY provide evidence for male-mediated introgression in Asian domestic cattle


Address for correspondence: T. Amano, Department of Zootechnical Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1737 Funako, Atsugi-Shi, Kanagawa 243-0034, Japan. E-mail:


Using nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b and SRY genes, we examined the genetic status of two major groups of domestic cattle, the humpless taurine (Bos taurus) and humped zebu (B. indicus), using 10 cattle populations in Asia. Several sequence polymorphisms specific for each major group were found, although the frequency of these polymorphisms varied in each population. Six major mtDNA-SRY composite types were observed. The Mishima, Mongolian, Korean, Chinese Yellow and Sri Lanka cattle populations had a full match between the mtDNA and SRY sequences, specifically the taurine/taurine type or zebu/zebu type. A non-match type (zebu/taurine type) was found at a high frequency in the Bangladesh (83.4%) and Nepal populations (83.3%). Our results suggest that these non-match type populations developed from genetic hybridization of different strains. Also, the domestication history of modern Asian domestic cattle could be explained by male-mediated introgression. Additionally, our results suggest the occurrence of introgression of mtDNA from other Bibos or Poephagus species into native cattle populations. The existence of other mtDNA-SRY composite types, such as the Bali-zebu and yak-zebu types in Indonesia (85.7%) and Nepal (16.7%), respectively, suggests that genetic introgression also occurred from other genera into domestic cattle during the process of domestication.