SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Ludovic Orlando, Tracking six millenia of horse selection

Monday February 11

Ludovic Orlando

Laboratoire AMIS CNRS UMR 5288, Faculté de Médecine de Purpan, Toulouse, France
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen 1350K, Denmark

Prof. Ludovic Orlando defended his PhD in molecular genetics in 2003, twenty years after the first ancient DNA molecule was ever sequenced. Ten years later, his group sequenced the oldest genome, leveraging ultrashort DNA molecules preserved in a permafrost specimen for more than half-a-million years. Full professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark, and CNRS research director at the University of Toulouse, his work is mainly focused on reconstructing the history of genomic and epigenomic changes underlying the domestication of the ‘noblest conquest of Mankind’: the horse.

Tracking six millenia of horse selection, admixture and management with complete genome time-series

The domestication of the Horse and its impact on warfare, transportation and agriculture, have revolutionized human history. Even though most modern breeds have been engendered within the last couple of centuries, humans have managed horse livestock for over five millenia. Recent selective and management strategies have tremendously impacted the genetic structure of horse populations. As a result, modern patterns of genetic diversity can only partly help reconstruct the horse domestication process prior to the modern era. Recent research in our laboratory, carried out in the framework of the ERC PEGASUS programme, has endeavoured to sequence complete horse genomes from accross their whole temporal and geographical domestication range in order to identify how the many past human cultures progressively forged the horse genome by means of selection, drift and admixture. This work revealed two different dynamics at play within early and late domestication stages, involving the selection for different functional pathways, different management strategies for the genetic resource available, including stallion diversity, and a recent increase in the genomic deleterious load. Our new genome dataset now allows us to document such changes at unprecedented scales and reveals unexpected features of the whole population dynamic underlying horse domestication.

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