University of Oulu

Honka, J., Heino, M., Kvist, L., Askeyev, I., Shaymuratova, D., Askeyev, O., Askeyev, A., Heikkinen, M., Searle, J., Aspi, J. (2018) Over a Thousand Years of Evolutionary History of Domestic Geese from Russian Archaeological Sites, Analysed Using Ancient DNA. Genes, 9 (7), 367. doi:10.3390/genes9070367

Over a thousand years of evolutionary history of domestic geese from Russian archaeological sites, analysed using ancient DNA

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Author: Honka, Johanna1; Heino, Matti T.1; Kvist, Laura1;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2The Institute of Problems in Ecology and Mineral Wealth, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, 420087 Kazan, Russia
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-08-08


The European domestic goose is a widely farmed species known to have descended from the wild greylag goose (Anser anser). However, the evolutionary history of this domesticate is still poorly known. Ancient DNA studies have been useful for many species, but there has been little such work on geese. We have studied temporal genetic variation among domestic goose specimens excavated from Russian archaeological sites (4th–18th centuries) using a 204 base pair fragment of the mitochondrial control region. Specimens fell into three different genetic clades: the domestic D-haplogroup, the F-haplogroup that includes both wild and domestic geese, and a clade comprising another species, the taiga bean goose. Most of the subfossil geese carried typical domestic D-haplotypes. The domestication status of the geese carrying F-haplotypes is less certain, as the haplotypes identified were not present among modern domestic geese and could represent wild geese (misclassified as domestics), introgression from wild geese, or local domestication events. The bones of taiga bean goose were most probably misidentified as domestic goose but the domestication of bean goose or hybridization with domestic goose is also possible. Samples from the 4th to 10th century were clearly differentiated from the later time periods due to a haplotype that was found only in this early period, but otherwise no temporal or geographical variation in haplotype frequencies was apparent.

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Series: Genes
ISSN: 2073-4425
ISSN-E: 2073-4425
ISSN-L: 2073-4425
Volume: 9
Issue: 7
Article number: 367
DOI: 10.3390/genes9070367
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: This research was funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation grant number 00170299 and by the University of Oulu.
Dataset Reference: The following are available online at, Table S1. List of the successfully analyzed subfossil goose samples from Russia; Table S2. Variable nucleotide sites; Text S1. Archaeological and historical context of the samples.
Copyright information: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (