A man walks on a sand dune with his came...A man walks on a sand dune with his camels in Mhamid el-Ghizlane, in the Moroccan southern Sahara desert, on March 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FADEL SENNAFADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

A scientific study that has just surfaced online suggests that human migration has led to the diversification of Camels’ DNA all across the globe.

More specifically, the University of Nottingham, the University of Veterinary Medicine (Vienna) and King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, joined their forces to scrutinize Camels’ genetic nature, by accumulating DNA from 1,083 modern Arabian camels — located in different regions —, and comparing it to ancient genetic material from early-domesticated dromedaries from 400-1870 AD and wild ones that dated back to 5,000-1,000 BC.

The findings of the research showcase a substantial genetic variation in between modern camels, a phenomenon that is primarily attributed to the fact that humans have been utilizing camels as a long-range mean of transportation for over 3,000 years now.

In ancient societies, camels constitute an indispensable part for transferring bare essentials, such as food and water, through a selection of terrains, mainly the desert, under any weather condition. As a matter of fact, camels are still being used for similar purposes — obviously to a lower degree.

Camels wanking on Sand Dunes Saudi desert.
Camels walking on Sand Dunes Saudi desert.

Furthermore, camels’ use in the worldwide trading network resulted to an unprecedented gene flow that had an impact on all areas where the species live, except for East Africa, duly to the local dromedary population being generally isolated from the rest of the world.

Olivier Hanotte, professor of genetics and conservation at the School of Life Sciences at Nottingham, mentioned in the respective paper,

Our analysis of this extensive dataset actually revealed that there is very little defined population structure in modern dromedaries. We believe this is a consequence of cross-continental back and forth movements along historic trading routes. Our results point to extensive gene flow which affects all regions except East Africa where dromedary populations have remained relatively isolated,

Faisal Almathen from the Department of Veterinary Health and Animal Husbandry at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, further added to the report,

The dromedary has outperformed all other domesticated mammals, including the donkey, in arid environments and continues to provide essential commodities to millions of people living in marginal agro-ecological areas. The genetic diversity we have discovered, thanks to restocking from wild ‘ghost’ dromedary populations, is quite remarkable in the history of its domestication. It underlines the animal’s potential to adapt sustainably to future challenges of expanding desert areas and global climate change.

Source: PNAS.org

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