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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Yuemin Li




Project Title: Detecting signatures of selection in domesticated animals


The domestication of animals has a remarkable impact on human history, which resulted in a major shift
in human subsistence patterns. Animal species such as dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, and horses have
been considerably changed in both phenotype and genotype over the past 15,000 years. They have been
subjected to novel selection pressure and have evolved genetic adaptations to the human niche. A
relaxation of selection when animals left the wild environment and positive selection due to intentional
and unintentional human preference can both lead to domestication traits. Identifying potential selection
targets during and after domestication can provide new insights into the genetic basis underlying
domestic traits and general mechanisms by which genetic variation shapes phenotypic diversity.
Meanwhile, with recent advances in ancient DNA techniques, it is feasible to derive both the time and the
intensity of selection.

In this project, we aim to infer signatures of selection from population genomic data of both contemporary
and ancient samples for several domestic species such as chickens, dogs, and cattle. We also intend to
discern genes under selection during the domestication from genes affected by recent selective



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