Limits...
Ancient DNA provides new insight into the maternal lineages and domestication of Chinese donkeys.

Han L, Zhu S, Ning C, Cai D, Wang K, Chen Q, Hu S, Yang J, Shao J, Zhu H, Zhou H - BMC Evol. Biol. (2014)

Bottom Line: One sample that dates to about 20,000 years before present failed to amplify.These results indicate that the maternal origin of Chinese domestic donkeys was probably related to the African wild ass, which includes the Nubian wild ass (Equus africanus africanus) and the Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis).Combined with historical records, the results of this study implied that domestic donkeys spread into west and north China before the emergence of the Han dynasty.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key-Lab for Evolution of Past Life and Environment in Northeast Asia, Jilin University, Ministry of Education, Changchun, 130012, PR China. luhan@jlu.edu.cn.

ABSTRACT

Background: The donkey (Equus asinus) is an important domestic animal that provides a reliable source of protein and method of transportation for many human populations. However, the process of domestication and the dispersal routes of the Chinese donkey are still unclear, as donkey remains are sparse in the archaeological record and often confused with horse remains. To explore the maternal origins and dispersal route of Chinese donkeys, both mitochondrial DNA D-loop and cytochrome b gene fragments of 21 suspected donkey remains from four archaeological sites in China were amplified and sequenced.

Results: Molecular methods of species identification show that 17 specimens were donkeys and three samples had the maternal genetic signature of horses. One sample that dates to about 20,000 years before present failed to amplify. In this study, the phylogenetic analysis reveals that ancient Chinese donkeys have high mitochondrial DNA diversity and two distinct mitochondrial maternal lineages, known as the Somali and Nubian lineages. These results indicate that the maternal origin of Chinese domestic donkeys was probably related to the African wild ass, which includes the Nubian wild ass (Equus africanus africanus) and the Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis). Combined with historical records, the results of this study implied that domestic donkeys spread into west and north China before the emergence of the Han dynasty. The number of Chinese domestic donkeys had increased primarily to meet demand for the expansion of trade, and they were likely used as commodities or for shipping goods along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty, when the Silk Road reached its golden age.

Conclusions: This study is the first to provide valuable ancient animal DNA evidence for early trade between African and Asian populations. The ancient DNA analysis of Chinese donkeys also sheds light on the dynamic process of the maternal origin, domestication, and dispersal route of ancient Chinese donkeys.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Geographic location of the archaeological sites in this study. Colored triangles refer to the archaeological site.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4263014&req=5

Fig3: Geographic location of the archaeological sites in this study. Colored triangles refer to the archaeological site.

Mentions: Twenty-one ancient samples were collected from four archaeological sites in China for this study (Table 1). Among these samples, 17 samples (L1- L9 and L11-L18) were from the Yanjialiang site in Inner Mongolia, which dates to 800-600 yr BP, during the Yuan dynasty [29]. Sample L10 was from the Jinsitai cave site in Inner Mongolia, which dates to 20,000-18,000 yr BP [30]. Sample L19 and L20 were from the Xi’an Wanke site in Shaanxi province, which dates to 1,160±30 yr BP using C14 dating, during the Tang dynasty. Sample L21 was from the Lantianxinjie site in Shaanxi province. The date of the sample was determined to be 568±50 yr BP using C14 dating. The geographic locations of the four archaeological sites in China where ancient donkey specimens were collected for sampling are shown in Figure 3.Figure 3


Ancient DNA provides new insight into the maternal lineages and domestication of Chinese donkeys.

Han L, Zhu S, Ning C, Cai D, Wang K, Chen Q, Hu S, Yang J, Shao J, Zhu H, Zhou H - BMC Evol. Biol. (2014)

Geographic location of the archaeological sites in this study. Colored triangles refer to the archaeological site.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4263014&req=5

Fig3: Geographic location of the archaeological sites in this study. Colored triangles refer to the archaeological site.
Mentions: Twenty-one ancient samples were collected from four archaeological sites in China for this study (Table 1). Among these samples, 17 samples (L1- L9 and L11-L18) were from the Yanjialiang site in Inner Mongolia, which dates to 800-600 yr BP, during the Yuan dynasty [29]. Sample L10 was from the Jinsitai cave site in Inner Mongolia, which dates to 20,000-18,000 yr BP [30]. Sample L19 and L20 were from the Xi’an Wanke site in Shaanxi province, which dates to 1,160±30 yr BP using C14 dating, during the Tang dynasty. Sample L21 was from the Lantianxinjie site in Shaanxi province. The date of the sample was determined to be 568±50 yr BP using C14 dating. The geographic locations of the four archaeological sites in China where ancient donkey specimens were collected for sampling are shown in Figure 3.Figure 3

Bottom Line: One sample that dates to about 20,000 years before present failed to amplify.These results indicate that the maternal origin of Chinese domestic donkeys was probably related to the African wild ass, which includes the Nubian wild ass (Equus africanus africanus) and the Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis).Combined with historical records, the results of this study implied that domestic donkeys spread into west and north China before the emergence of the Han dynasty.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key-Lab for Evolution of Past Life and Environment in Northeast Asia, Jilin University, Ministry of Education, Changchun, 130012, PR China. luhan@jlu.edu.cn.

ABSTRACT

Background: The donkey (Equus asinus) is an important domestic animal that provides a reliable source of protein and method of transportation for many human populations. However, the process of domestication and the dispersal routes of the Chinese donkey are still unclear, as donkey remains are sparse in the archaeological record and often confused with horse remains. To explore the maternal origins and dispersal route of Chinese donkeys, both mitochondrial DNA D-loop and cytochrome b gene fragments of 21 suspected donkey remains from four archaeological sites in China were amplified and sequenced.

Results: Molecular methods of species identification show that 17 specimens were donkeys and three samples had the maternal genetic signature of horses. One sample that dates to about 20,000 years before present failed to amplify. In this study, the phylogenetic analysis reveals that ancient Chinese donkeys have high mitochondrial DNA diversity and two distinct mitochondrial maternal lineages, known as the Somali and Nubian lineages. These results indicate that the maternal origin of Chinese domestic donkeys was probably related to the African wild ass, which includes the Nubian wild ass (Equus africanus africanus) and the Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis). Combined with historical records, the results of this study implied that domestic donkeys spread into west and north China before the emergence of the Han dynasty. The number of Chinese domestic donkeys had increased primarily to meet demand for the expansion of trade, and they were likely used as commodities or for shipping goods along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty, when the Silk Road reached its golden age.

Conclusions: This study is the first to provide valuable ancient animal DNA evidence for early trade between African and Asian populations. The ancient DNA analysis of Chinese donkeys also sheds light on the dynamic process of the maternal origin, domestication, and dispersal route of ancient Chinese donkeys.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus