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Keywords:

  • comparative genomics;
  • intronic mutations;
  • regulatory mutations;
  • structural variation

Abstract.  Andersson L (Uppsala University, Uppsala; and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala; Sweden). How selective sweeps in domestic animals provide new insight into biological mechanisms (Review). J Intern Med 2012; 271: 1–14.

Genetic studies of domestic animals are of general interest because there is more phenotypic diversity to explore in these species than in any experimental organism. Some mutations with favourable phenotypic effects have been highly enriched and gone through selective sweeps during the process of domestication and selective breeding. Three such selective sweeps are described in this review. All three mutations are intronic and constitute cis-acting regulatory mutations. Two of the mutations constitute structural changes (one duplication and one copy number expansion). These examples illustrate a general trend that noncoding mutations and structural changes have both contributed significantly to the evolution of phenotypic diversity in domestic animals. How the molecular characterization of trait loci in domestic animals can provide new basic knowledge of relevance for human medicine is discussed.