Mitochondrial DNA variability in Gyimesi Racka and Turcana sheep breeds
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The current knowledge and documentation on the origins and relationship between Gyimesi Racka reared in Hungary and the Romanian Turcana is rather controversial. Lack of information and scientific reliable proofs for the divergent theories found in the two countries motivated us to implement a trial using molecular methods to assess the genetic distance and diversity in the two breeds. Hair follicles were collected from Gyimesi Racka (2 phenotypes) and from Turcana (6 ecotypes). The 599 bp segment of the D-loop region of the mitochondrial DNA was sequenced. Altogether, 42 haplotypes were identified, while 23 were found in both populations. Populations were highly diverse according to the haplotype and nucleotide diversity indices. AMOVA analysis showed that most of the variation was observed within populations (98%), indicating a weak genetic structure between the two breeds. Animals were grouped into seven groups based on their phenotype; however genetic distances among them were also low. Tajima's D, Fu's Fs, goodness-of-fit statistics, mismatch distribution and network analysis suggested recent demographic expansion. Current comprehensive mtDNA study indicates that there is very low level of genetic differentiation between the Gyimesi Racka and Turcana populations therefore they are de facto one trans-boundary breed.
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