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Gene. 2006 Jul 19;376(2):216-23. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

Origin, genetic diversity, and population structure of Chinese domestic sheep.

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Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-resource, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China.


To characterize the origin, genetic diversity, and phylogeographic structure of Chinese domestic sheep, we here analyzed a 531-bp fragment of mtDNA control region of 449 Chinese autochthonous sheep from 19 breeds/populations from 13 geographic regions, together with previously reported 44 sequences from Chinese indigenous sheep. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all three previously defined lineages A, B, and C were found in all sampled Chinese sheep populations, except for the absence of lineage C in four populations. Network profiles revealed that the lineages B and C displayed a star-like phylogeny with the founder haplotype in the centre, and that two star-like subclades with two founder haplotypes were identified in lineage A. The pattern of genetic variation in lineage A, together with the divergence time between the two central founder haplotypes suggested that two independent domestication events have occurred in sheep lineage A. Considerable mitochondrial diversity was observed in Chinese sheep. Weak structuring was observed either among Chinese indigenous sheep populations or between Asian and European sheep and this can be attributable to long-term strong gene flow induced by historical human movements. The high levels of intra-population diversity in Chinese sheep and the weak phylogeographic structuring indicated three geographically independent domestication events have occurred and the domestication place was not only confined to the Near East, but also occurred in other regions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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