Using extinct diversity of Asian wild Bos to guide wildlife conservation and improve cattle

Name of applicant

Mikkel Holger Strander Sinding


Trinity College Dublin


DKK 1,946,159



Type of grant

Reintegration Fellowships


The cattle-like wild oxen species banteng - Bos javanicus and gaur - Bos gaurus are going extinct and we know almost nothing about them. This project will generate full nuclear genomes from museum specimens of extinct populations, and in combination with modern specimens investigate species structure, as well as evolution across time and geography. This information will be used in conservation efforts of both species. The project will further identify specific genes under selection over time, these gene variants may be useful adaptations, with potential for optimisation of health, production and sustainability in cattle industry. In short, using museum specimens to investigate natural history and evolution, with implications for wildlife conservation and cattle industry.


The world is in a biodiversity crisis, these scientific results have great implications to conserve species, ecosystems and biodiversity. Which is a fantastic thing on its own but also conserve ecosystem services that millions of people depend on. Further the project will provide novel knowledge about evolution and natural history of the target species. Finally, unique adaptive gene versions in banteng and gaur are evolutionary innovation, which is a resource with implications in cattle industry, advancing and improving an enormous industry that need optimisation. Doing this makes the project an inspiring lead example of using evolutionary-historical research in food production.


Published research and the host institution allow access to modern reference data. The first step of the project is therefore to generate full nuclear genomes of historical specimens, obtained from museums. Once the dataset include all necessary populations, supercomputers are used to explore the data and identify structure, divergent linages and admixture. Next, the genomes will be re-evaluated in genome scans, identifying specific regions of the genomes in specific populations under selection. These regions are the foundation of specific traits as protein structures or regulation of production specific bio-molecules, which now can be evaluated for benefits and prospects in cattle.

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