Current genetic diversity in eight local Chinese sheep populations
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China has numerous local domestic sheep breeds. In this study, the genetic diversity of eight sheep populations was estimated using 17 microsatellites. Knowledge of such diversity provides novel insight into the degree of breed protection needed and the prediction of hybrid advantage. In total, 17 microsatellites were genotyped in 186 individuals from eight populations. The mean number of alleles (± SD) ranged from 3.71 ± 1.36 in Zhaotong sheep to 11.94 ± 3.58 in small-tailed Han sheep. The observed heterozygote frequency (± SD) within a population ranged from 0.482 ± 0.025 in Zhaotong sheep to 0.664 ± 0.023 in Tibetan sheep. In addition, using pairwise difference (FST) analysis, the highest within-population diversity was observed in Tibetan sheep (πX = 12.8098) and small-tailed Han (πX = 12.67873), and the lowest diversity was observed in Zhaotong sheep (πX = 7.90337). The results for genetic divergence between populations indicated that the populations were significantly different (P < 0.05) based on the average number of pairwise differences between populations (πXY) and the corrected average pairwise differences. Both phylogenetic networks and structure analysis showed that these eight populations were separated into three clusters in accordance with their geographical habitat, except Tibetan and Hu sheep. In short, we genotyped eight local Chinese sheep populations using 17 microsatellites, and the results indicated that their current genetic diversity is decreasing and that new conservation strategies are needed. In addition, significant genetic differences between populations could be used in cross breeding.
KeywordsDiversity Local sheep Microsatellite China
This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31172195), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2018B014), People’s Livelihood Special Innovation Projects of CQ CSTC (cstc2015shmszx80005).
Y-HM and Y-FH conceived and designed the experiments. Q-HH and G-XE performed the lab work. G-XE analyzed the data and wrote the paper.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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