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J Hered. 2005 Sep-Oct;96(5):494-501. Epub 2005 Aug 31.

Mitochondrial sequence reveals high levels of gene flow between breeds of domestic sheep from Asia and Europe.

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CSIRO Livestock Industries, Level 5 Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Rd., St. Lucia 4067, Australia.


Sequence variation present within the mitochondrial genome was used to investigate genetic diversity within sheep breeds from Asia and Europe. Comparison of 2027 bp of sequence from 121 animals revealed 44 phylogenetically informative nucleotide positions and a single insertion/deletion. A total of 57 haplotypes were observed which formed two distinct clades. Type A haplotypes were found in breeds from Asia (India, Indonesia, Mongolia, and Tibet), while type B haplotypes were observed at the highest frequency in breeds sourced from Europe (nine breeds from Austria, Aland, Finland, Spain, and northwestern Russia). The distribution of haplotypes indicates sheep appear to have the weakest population structure and the highest rate of intercontinental dispersal of any domestic animal reported to date. Only 2.7% of the sequence variation observed was partitioned between continents, which is lower than both goat (approximately 10%) and cattle (approximately 50%). Diagnostic restriction fragment length polymorphism polymerase chain reaction (RFLP-PCR) tests which distinguish type A and B haplotypes were used to test an additional 223 animals from 17 breeds of European and Asian origin. A mixture of the two lineages was found in every breed except Suffolk and the Indian Garole, indicating introgression has played a major part during breed development and subsequent selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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