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Genetic Analysis and Estimation of Genetic Diversity in East-European Breeds of Windhounds (Canis familiaris L.) Based on the Data of Genomic Studies Using RAPD Markers


The method of polymerase chain reaction with a set of arbitrary primers (RAPD–PCR) was used to describe genetic variation and to estimate genetic diversity in East-European windhounds, Russian Borzoi and Russian Chortai. For comparison, windhounds of two West-European breeds (Whippet and Greyhound) and single dogs of other breed types (shepherd, terriers, mastiffs, and bird dogs) were examined. For all dog groups, their closest related species, the wolf Canis lupus, was used as an outgroup. Variation of RAPD markers was studied at several hierarchic levels: intra- and interfamily (for individual families of Russian Psovyi and Chortai windhounds), intra- and interbreed (for ten dog breeds), and interspecific (C. familiaris–C. lupus). In total, 57 dogs and 4 wolves were studied. Using RAPD–PCR with three primers, 93 DNA fragments with a length of 150–1500 bp were detected in several Windhound families with known filiation. These fragments were found to be inherited as dominant markers and to be applicable for estimation of genetic differences between parents and their offspring and for comparison of individuals and families with different level of inbreeding. A high level of intra- and interbreed diversity was found in Russian Borzoi and Russian Chortai. In these dogs, genetic similarity indices varied in a range of 72.2 to 93.4% (parents–offspring) and 68.0 to 94.5 (sibs). Based on the patterns of RAPD markers obtained using six primers, a dendrogram of genetic similarity between the wolf and different dog breeds was constructed, and indices of intragroup diversity were calculated. All studied breeds grouped into two clusters, windhounds (Borzoi-like dogs) and other dog breeds. Russian windhounds represent a very heterogeneous group, in which the Russian Borzoi is closer to Greyhound than the Russian Chortai. All studied wolves constituted a separate cluster. Significant differences were found between the wolf and dogs by the number of RAPD markers (92.8 and 86.1, respectively) and by the indices of genetic diversity (54.3 and 64.8%, respectively). The reason for the high intraspecific variation of dogs (including Russian windhounds) and the prospects of using the studied group of markers for genetic analysis and differentiation in C. familiaris are discussed.

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Semyenova, S.K., Illarionova, N.A., Vasil'ev, V.A. et al. Genetic Analysis and Estimation of Genetic Diversity in East-European Breeds of Windhounds (Canis familiaris L.) Based on the Data of Genomic Studies Using RAPD Markers. Russian Journal of Genetics 38, 704–713 (2002).

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  • Genetic Diversity
  • Genetic Similarity
  • Similarity Index
  • Intraspecific Variation
  • Hierarchic Level