Modern-day Chinese pigs are directly descended from ancient pigs which were the first to be domesticated in the region 10,000 years ago, a new archaeological and genetic study has revealed.
An international team of researchers, led by Durham University (UK) and the China Agricultural University, in Beijing, say their findings suggest a difference between patterns of early domestication and movement of pigs in Europe and parts of East Asia.
The research, published Monday, April 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, looked at the DNA sequences of more than 1,500 modern and 18 ancient pigs.
Lead author Dr Greger Larson, in the Department of Archaeology, at Durham University, said: ‘Previous studies of European domestic pigs demonstrated that the first pigs in Europe were imported from the Near East. Those first populations were then completely replaced by pigs descended from European wild boar.