The congruence of cattle breeds with inferred clusters is remarkable. K=47 frappe analysis is probably testing the limits of human visual perception...
PLoS ONE 5(9): e13038. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013038
Insights into the Genetic History of French Cattle from Dense SNP Data on 47 Worldwide Breeds
Mathieu Gautier et al.
Modern cattle originate from populations of the wild extinct aurochs through a few domestication events which occurred about 8,000 years ago. Newly domesticated populations subsequently spread worldwide following breeder migration routes. The resulting complex historical origins associated with both natural and artificial selection have led to the differentiation of numerous different cattle breeds displaying a broad phenotypic variety over a short period of time.
This study gives a detailed assessment of cattle genetic diversity based on 1,121 individuals sampled in 47 populations from different parts of the world (with a special focus on French cattle) genotyped for 44,706 autosomal SNPs. The analyzed data set consisted of new genotypes for 296 individuals representing 14 French cattle breeds which were combined to those available from three previously published studies. After characterizing SNP polymorphism in the different populations, we performed a detailed analysis of genetic structure at both the individual and population levels. We further searched for spatial patterns of genetic diversity among 23 European populations, most of them being of French origin, under the recently developed spatial Principal Component analysis framework.
Overall, such high throughput genotyping data confirmed a clear partitioning of the cattle genetic diversity into distinct breeds. In addition, patterns of differentiation among the three main groups of populations—the African taurine, the European taurine and zebus—may provide some additional support for three distinct domestication centres. Finally, among the European cattle breeds investigated, spatial patterns of genetic diversity were found in good agreement with the two main migration routes towards France, initially postulated based on archeological evidence.