Aurochs DNA analysis (Bos primigenius)

Ryszard Słomski, Alexander M. Dzieduszycki, Daniel Lipiński, Marlena Szalata, Jolanta Zeyland, Karolina Wielgus, Hieronim Frąckowiak, Zdzisław Smorąg, Mirosław S. Ryba


Aurochs (Bos primigenius) was a unique species lasting through Pleistocene and Holocene for about two million years. The aurochs was one of the largest animals ever to inhabit Europe. The longest the species survived in the very Central Europe (presently Poland), where in spite of being taken under quite modern protection the last aged cow died in the year 1627. The most often brought up reason for dying out of the Aurochs is hunting and pouching. Another belief is, that growing agriculture pushed them away further from human sites. The study of the ancient DNA is quite a challenge. Although more and more research centers undertake the task, there is still little knowledge on this matter. First step of analysis is finding of certified aurochs bones or teeth and isolation of DNA. That was the most important step, followed by cloning of aurochs DNA in bacterial system for further analysis encompassing DNA sequencing and comparison with the existing bovine database in search for any similarities and specific genes. Some of the results have been already published. Studies of aurochs help also understanding history of species, its relation to other species and perhaps will help preventing extinction of other animals.


aurochs; extinction; ancient DNA; DNA sequencing

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