Ancient goat genomes reveal mosaic domestication in the Fertile Crescent

Kevin G. Daly, Pierpaolo Maisano Delser, Victoria E. Mullin, Amelie Scheu, Valeria Mattiangeli, Matthew D. Teasdale, Andrew J. Hare, Joachim Burger, Marta Pereira Verdugo, Matthew J. Collins, Ron Kehati, Cevdet Merih Erek, Guy Bar-Oz, François Pompanon, Tristan Cumer, Canan Çakırlar, Azadeh Fatemeh Mohaseb, Delphine Decruyenaere, Hossein Davoudi, Özlem ÇevikGary Rollefson, Jean Denis Vigne, Roya Khazaeli, Homa Fathi, Sanaz Beizaee Doost, Roghayeh Rahimi Sorkhani, Ali Akbar Vahdati, Eberhard W. Sauer, Hossein Azizi Kharanaghi, Sepideh Maziar, Boris Gasparian, Ron Pinhasi, Louise Martin, David Orton, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Norbert Benecke, Andrea Manica, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Marjan Mashkour, Daniel G. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Current genetic data are equivocal as to whether goat domestication occurred multiple times or was a singular process. We generated genomic data from 83 ancient goats (51 with genome-wide coverage) from Paleolithic to Medieval contexts throughout the Near East. Our findings demonstrate that multiple divergent ancient wild goat sources were domesticated in a dispersed process that resulted in genetically and geographically distinct Neolithic goat populations, echoing contemporaneous human divergence across the region. These early goat populations contributed differently to modern goats in Asia, Africa, and Europe. We also detect early selection for pigmentation, stature, reproduction, milking, and response to dietary change, providing 8000-year-old evidence for human agency in molding genome variation within a partner species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-88
Number of pages4
Issue number6397
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
2017 © The Authors.


Supported by ERC Investigator grant 295729-CodeX. Additional support from Science Foundation Ireland Award 12/ERC/B2227. P.M.D. was supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme “Uses of the Past” (CitiGen); and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 649307. A.M. was supported by ERC Consolidator grant 647787-LocalAdaptation. M.D.T. was supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship SCRIBE H2020-MSCA-IF-2016 747424.

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme647787, 747424, 295729
H2020 European Research Council295729-CodeX
University of International Business and EconomicsH2020-MSCA-IF-2016 747424
Science Foundation Ireland12/ERC/B2227


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