Background: The history of African indigenous cattle and their adaptation to environmental and human selection
pressure is at the root of their remarkable diversity. Characterization of this diversity is an essential step towards
understanding the genomic basis of productivity and adaptation to survival under African farming systems.
Results: We analyze patterns of African cattle genetic variation by sequencing 48 genomes from five indigenous
populations and comparing them to the genomes of 53 commercial taurine breeds. We find the highest genetic
diversity among African zebu and sanga cattle. Our search for genomic regions under selection reveals signatures
of selection for environmental adaptive traits. In particular, we identify signatures of selection including genes and/
or pathways controlling anemia and feeding behavior in the trypanotolerant N’Dama, coat color and horn
development in Ankole, and heat tolerance and tick resistance across African cattle especially in zebu breeds.
Conclusions: Our findings unravel at the genome-wide level, the unique adaptive diversity of African cattle while
emphasizing the opportunities for sustainable improvement of livestock productivity on the continent.
Kim, J., Hanotte, O., Mwai, O.A., Dessie, T., Bashir, S., Diallo, B., Agaba, M., Kim, K., Kwak, W., Sung, S., Seo, M., Jeong, H., Kwon, T., Taye, M., Ki-Duk Song, Dajeong Lim, Seoae Cho, Hyun-Jeong Lee, Duhak Yoon, Sung Jong Oh, Kemp, S., Hak-Kyo Lee and Heebal Kim. 2017. The genome landscape of indigenous African cattle. Genome Biology 18:34