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Origin of African cattle traced to Middle East

Posted on Mar 28 2014 | IANS

New York, March 28 : The ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the "Fertile Crescent", a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel, a new research has found.

"The genetics of these African cattle breeds are similar to those of cattle first domesticated in the Middle East nearly 10,000 years ago, proving that those cattle were brought to Africa as farmers migrated south," said professor Jared Decker of the University of Missouri.

In the study, the researchers compared the similarities and differences among the genetics of many different cattle breeds to determine how the breeds are related.

The research found mixing of native cattle in Indonesia with imports from India, European and African cattle in Italy and Spain, and European and Asian cattle in Korea and Japan.

"In the case of African cattle, anthropologists and geneticists used to suspect that domesticated African cattle were native to the continent, when in fact, they were brought by migrating peoples thousands of years ago," said Decker.

These discoveries help advance genetics and uncover important information about human history, the researchers said.

The study appeared in PLOS Genetics.

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