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Tracing the genetic root of Trinket cattle: an endangered cattle population of a small isolated island of Nicobar group of islands

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Trinket cattle are the inhabitant of a small island called Trinket, which is one of the picturesque islands of Andaman. This herd is thought to be of Danish leftover during their dynasty in Nicobar archipelago. When the island was abandoned by foreign invaders, indigenes utilized the animals for the purpose of meat. As a result, the cattle became semi-feral in nature. After the Great Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of Indian Ocean in 2004, Trinket island was left abandoned by indigenes and the cattle became totally feral in nature. To trace the genetic root of the cattle, this study has been undertaken based on the sequence information of the mitochondrial D-loop and cytochrome b gene. The genomic DNA was extracted from the blood samples of the Trinket cattle and was used for amplification of mitochondrial markers, and the sequence information was generated by Sanger sequencing. The analysis of sequence information revealed that the Trinket cattle belongs to Bos indicus (I) haplotype, sub-haplotype I2. The presence of I2 sub-haplotype in Trinket cattle may be due to the expansion of this I2 haplotype towards Southeast Asian countries. This is a novel input for the formulation of breeding strategy towards conservation of eco-friendly sustainable livestock in the isolated island ecosystem.

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This work was supported by a Grant from Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (grant no. BT/BI/04/066/2004) and ICAR (Grant No. HORTCIARISIL201700800181). Authors thank the Chairperson, Kamorta Tribal Council, Nicobar for making necessary arrangements to visit the Trinket Island. Authors also thank Mr Portifer, Captain, Vikas Nagar village, Kamorta and Derek, a Nicobarese boy, for their help in capturing and collecting biological samples of Trinket cattle.

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Correspondence to D. Bhattacharya.

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Corresponding editor: Analabha Basu

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De, A.K., George, Z., Mondal, S. et al. Tracing the genetic root of Trinket cattle: an endangered cattle population of a small isolated island of Nicobar group of islands. J Genet 99, 16 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12041-020-1178-y

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  • Trinket cattle
  • Andaman and Nicobar islands
  • Danish colony
  • tsunami
  • haplotype
  • Bos indicus.