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Population genetic structure of and inbreeding in an insular cattle breed, the Jersey, and its implications for genetic resource management

Chikhi, L, Goossens, Benoit ORCID:, Treanor, A and Bruford, Michael William ORCID: 2004. Population genetic structure of and inbreeding in an insular cattle breed, the Jersey, and its implications for genetic resource management. Heredity 92 (5) , pp. 396-401. 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800433

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The Jersey is a ubiquitous and successful breed of cattle that originates from the UK Channel Island of Jersey. While the breed has been exported extensively, no imports have taken place to the island since 1789, leading to a concern regarding possible losses of genetic diversity and increased inbreeding. We have conducted the first large-scale genetic analysis of the Jersey cattle using only samples from the island. A total of 223 cattle from all parishes except one were genotyped for 12 microsatellite loci. The average number of alleles per locus and expected heterozygosity were found to be comparatively high (nA=4, He=0.64) with respect to that observed in a number of continental breeds. Only breeds that have been upgraded and are therefore the result of admixture are clearly more variable than the Jersey. We also found a significant but limited amount of genetic differentiation between parishes (Fst=0.013), or even between farms (Fst=0.035) despite an apparent lack of movement. This is confirmed by the application of two recent statistical methods. A Bayesian partition analysis shows that the most probable value of K, the number of possible hidden partitions, is 1 (P0.98). K=2 has a much lower probability (P0.02) while other values are essentially zero. Similarly, we were able to show that there was no support for departure from panmixia other than due to population structure, and thus that there is sufficient background gene flow across the island to overcome local drift. Overall, it appears that the current level of genetic diversity and its distribution within the island means it is unnecessary to import unrelated genetic material to the island for management purposes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jersey cattle; island of Jersey; microsatellites; genetic diversity; inbreeding.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0018-067X
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 08:32

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