(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Texas have found that all wild bison in North America have stretches of DNA that are originally found in livestock and can make them susceptible to diseases in farm animals.
At the time of the arrival of European settlers in North America, 40 million bison lived on the continent. Due to over-hunting, by the mid-1880s, their numbers were reduced to a few hundred.
In addition, ranchers crossed bison with their livestock. Downsizing and this practice have led to the introduction of livestock genes into the wild bison gene pool.
The scientists analyzed the genomes of domestic and wild bison, including those already dead, whose DNA was obtained from museum collections.
Geneticists collected several thousand samples and it turned out that all wild bison had traces of “domestic” DNA in the genome.
The authors believe that their results have shown that in America today there is not a single purebred bison without an admixture of livestock DNA.
Now they intend to find out whether these genes have an impact on the susceptibility of bison to diseases in domestic animals.
There are several infectious diseases, including brucellosis, tuberculosis and mycoplasmosis, which can completely destroy the herd.
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