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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Horse Variety Predates Domestication
21 November 2011 5:20 pm
Today's horses come in a variety of colors and sizes, but don't credit humans. According to a new study, most of these traits existed long before we domesticated them. As researchers report online this month in BMC Evolutionary Biology, they analyzed the complete mitochondrial genome—the DNA found within cell's energy powerhouses—of 45 diverse horse breeds, looking for clues to the timing of horse domestication. They found that modern horses arose nearly 7000 years ago, a result that agrees with previous studies. The data also show that the ancestor of all domestic horses—which some scientists believed lived as long as 1 million years ago—roamed much more recently, between 38,000 and 93,000 years ago. In addition, more than 70% of today's horse lineages already existed before domestication, suggesting that a large number of wild founder mothers were used to build up the modern horse population.
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