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Drift across the Atlantic: genetic differentiation and population structure in Brazilian and Portuguese native goat breeds

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Brazilian goat breeds are believed to derive mainly from animals brought by Portuguese settlers since the 16th century. We used microsatellite markers in a sample of 436 animals to study genetic variability and differentiation of the six Portuguese (PT) and six Brazilian (BR) goat breeds currently recognized in the two countries. These breeds were also compared with an outgroup represented by a sample of Alpine (ALP) goats. The effective number of alleles and allelic richness were slightly higher in PT than in BR breeds. The global F ST was nearly 0.11 when PT and BR breeds were considered, with a mean pairwise F ST of about 0.03 among PT breeds, 0.07 among BR breeds and 0.15 between PT and BR breeds. The dendrogram illustrating relationships between populations and the correspondence analysis indicate the existence of two very distinct clusters, corresponding to the countries of origin of the breeds studied, which are nearly equidistant from the Alpine outgroup. The analysis with structure confirmed the separation between PT and BR breeds but suggests that some BR breeds, especially Graúna and Canindé, may share a common ancestry with PT breeds. The divergence observed between PT and BR breeds may result from founder effects and genetic drift but could also reflect the introduction in Brazil of goats originating from other regions, e.g., West Africa.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1:  Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil 2:  Departamento de Genética, Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain 3:  Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Areia, PB, Brazil

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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