Genomic consequences of a century of inbreeding and isolation in the Danish wild boar population

Beril Yıldız, Hendrik-Jan Megens, Christina Hvilsom, Mirte Bosse* (Corresponding author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Demographic events such as series of bottlenecks impact the genetic variation and adaptive potential of populations. European megafauna, such as wild boars (Sus scrofa), have experienced severe climatic and size fluctuations that have shaped their genetic variation. Habitat fragmentation and human-mediated translocations have further contributed to the complex demographic history of European wild boar. Danish wild boars represent an extreme case of a small and isolated population founded by four wild boars from Germany. Here, we explore the genetic composition of the Danish wild boar population in Klelund. We genotyped all 21 Danish wild boars that were recently transferred from the source population in Lille Vildmose into the Klelund Plantation to establish a novel wild boar population. We compared the Danish wild boars with high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism genotypes from a comprehensive reference set of 1263 wild and domesticated pigs, including 11 individuals from Ulm, one of two presumed founder locations in Germany. Our findings support the European wild background of the Danish population, and no traces of gene flow with wild or domesticated pigs were found. The narrow genetic origin of the Danish wild boars is illustrated by extremely long and frequent runs of homozygous stretches in their genomes, indicative of recent inbreeding. This study provides the first insights into one of the most inbred wild boar populations globally established a century ago from a narrow base of only four founders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-966
Number of pages13
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Danish wild boar
  • European wild boar
  • inbreeding
  • Klelund Plantation
  • ROH


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