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Anim Genet. 2001 Oct;32(5):281-8.

Assessing genetic diversity in Italian goat populations using AFLP markers.

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Istituto di Zootecnica, Università Cattolica del S. Cuore, Piacenza, Italy.


Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to investigate the genetic variation in a sample of seven goat (Capra hircus) populations. A total of 210 individuals (30 per population) were analysed using seven selected AFLP primer combinations that produced 219 clear polymorphisms. Four autochthonous goat breeds (Bionda dell'Adamello, Frisa, Orobica and Verzaschese), two primary populations, one from the Lombardy Alps (Val di Livo) and the other from Sardinia island (Sarda) and a reference cosmopolitan breed (Saanen) were included in the analysis. The expected heterozygosity (Het) did not differ significantly among breeds (range 0.21-0.24). No breed specific markers were identified. The variability at AFLP loci was largely maintained within breeds, as indicated by the coefficient of genetic differentiation (Gst) value (0.11). Dice similarities calculated between pairs of individuals belonging to the same or to different breeds largely overlapped. Bootstrapping on markers indicated that the coefficient of variation (CV) of the genetic indexes tested decreases only marginally by adding markers over 100 AFLPs. Cluster analysis based on standard genetic distance between breeds indicates that Sarda is the most distant population, while Bionda, Frisa, Verzaschese and Val di Livo seem to be highly related populations. Interestingly, Saanen is closer than Orobica to the other four goat populations of the Lombardy Alps. Principal co-ordinates analysis based on Dice similarities confirms these observations. Genetic diversity of the goat populations investigated confirms what is expected on the basis of their geographical location. Results from Orobica are not correlated with geographical distances and may reflect undocumented migrations and gene flows and identify an original genetic resource.

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