, Volume 44, Issue 5-6, pp 237-245

Mitochondrial DNA Cleavage Patterns Distinguish Independent Origin of Chinese Domestic Geese and Western Domestic Geese

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It has generally been assumed, based on morphology, that Chinese domestic goose breeds were derived from the swan goose (Anser cygnoides) and that European and American breeds were derived from the graylag goose (Anser anser). To test the validity of this assumption, we investigated the mtDNA cleavage patterns of 16 Chinese breeds and 2 European breeds as well as hybrids produced between a Chinese breed and a European breed. After 224 mtDNAs, isolated from the Chinese and European breeds, were digested by 19 restriction endonucleases, variations of the cleavage patterns were observed for four enzymes (EcoRV, HaeII, HincII, and KpnI). All Chinese breeds and their maternal hybrids except the Yili breed showed an identical haplotype, named haplotype I or the Chinese haplotype; the European breeds and the Yili breed showed another haplotype, named haplotype II or the western haplotype. None of the haplotype found in the Chinese type was detectable in the western type and vice versa. The two haplotypes were found to differ from each other at 8.0% of the sites surveyed and with a 0.72% sequence divergence. Using 2% substitution per million years calibrated from the genera Anser and Branta, the two domestic geese haplotypes were estimated to have diverged approximately 360,000 years ago, well outside the 3000–6000 years in domestic history. Our findings provide the first molecular genetic evidence to support the dual origin assumption of domestic geese in the world. Meanwhile, the four mtDNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms can be used as maternal genetic markers to distinguish the two types of domestic geese.

These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.