Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Whole-Genome Resequencing of Worldwide Wild and Domestic Sheep Elucidates Genetic Diversity, Introgression, and Agronomically Important Loci

Lv, Feng-Hua; Cao, Yin-Hong; Liu, Guang-Jian; Luo, Ling-Yun; Lu, Ran; Liu, Ming-Jun; Li, Wen-Rong; Zhou, Ping; Wang, Xin-Hua; Shen, Min; Gao, Lei; Yang, Jing-Quan; Yang, Hua; Yang, Yong-Lin; Liu, Chang-Bin; Wan, Peng-Cheng; Zhang, Yun-Sheng; Pi, Wen-Hui; Ren, Yan-Ling; Shen, Zhi-Qiang;
Show more authors


Domestic sheep and their wild relatives harbor substantial genetic variants that can form the backbone of molecular breeding, but their genome landscapes remain understudied. Here, we present a comprehensive genome resource for wild ovine species, landraces and improved breeds of domestic sheep, comprising high-coverage (similar to 16.10x) whole genomes of 810 samples from 7 wild species and 158 diverse domestic populations. We detected, in total, similar to 121.2 million single nucleotide polymorphisms, similar to 61 million of which are novel. Some display significant (P < 0.001) differences in frequency between wild and domestic species, or are private to continent-wide or individual sheep populations. Retained or introgressed wild gene variants in domestic populations have contributed to local adaptation, such as the variation in the HBB associated with plateau adaptation. We identified novel and previously reported targets of selection on morphological and agronomic traits such as stature, horn, tail configuration, and wool fineness. We explored the genetic basis of wool fineness and unveiled a novel mutation (chr25: T7,068,586C) in the 3 '-UTR of IRF2BP2 as plausible causal variant for fleece fiber diameter. We reconstructed prehistorical migrations from the Near Eastern domestication center to South-and-Southeast Asia and found two main waves of migrations across the Eurasian Steppe and the Iranian Plateau in the Early and Late Bronze Ages. Our findings refine our understanding of genome variation as shaped by continental migrations, introgression, adaptation, and selection of sheep.


whole-genome sequences; genetic diversity; adaptive introgression; genetic selection; agronomic traits; migration

Published in

Molecular Biology and Evolution
2022, Volume: 39, number: 2, article number: msab353

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Evolutionary Biology

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)