Data from: Genome-wide diversity and global migration patterns in dromedaries follow ancient caravan routes
Lado, Sara et al. (2020), Data from: Genome-wide diversity and global migration patterns in dromedaries follow ancient caravan routes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kh189322q
Dromedaries have been essential for the prosperity of civilizations in arid environments and the dispersal of humans, goods and cultures along ancient, cross-continental trading routes. With increasing desertification their importance as livestock species is rising rapidly, but little is known about their genome-wide diversity and demographic history. As previous studies using a limited amount of nuclear markers have shown weak phylogeographic structure, here, we adopted a genome-wide approach and detected fine-scale population differentiation in dromedaries across Asia and Africa. Global patterns of effective migration rates revealed pathways of dispersal after domestication, following historic caravan routes like the Silk and Incense Roads. Our results show that a Pleistocene bottleneck and medieval expansions during the rise of the Ottoman empire have shaped the genome-wide diversity in modern dromedaries. By understanding subtle population structure we recognize the value of small, locally adapted populations and appeal for securing genomic diversity for a sustainable utilization of this key desert species.