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Genetics. 2000 Apr;154(4):1785-91.

The origin of the domestic pig: independent domestication and subsequent introgression.

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Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.


The domestic pig originates from the Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa). We have sequenced mitochondrial DNA and nuclear genes from wild and domestic pigs from Asia and Europe. Clear evidence was obtained for domestication to have occurred independently from wild boar subspecies in Europe and Asia. The time since divergence of the ancestral forms was estimated at approximately 500,000 years, well before domestication approximately 9,000 years ago. Historical records indicate that Asian pigs were introduced into Europe during the 18th and early 19th centuries. We found molecular evidence for this introgression and the data indicated a hybrid origin of some major "European" pig breeds. The study is an advance in pig genetics and has important implications for the maintenance and utilization of genetic diversity in this livestock species.

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