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Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds: a genome-wide intercontinental study.

Ciani E, Lasagna E, D'Andrea M, Alloggio I, Marroni F, Ceccobelli S, Delgado Bermejo JV, Sarti FM, Kijas J, Lenstra JA, Pilla F, International Sheep Genomics Consorti - Genet. Sel. Evol. (2015)

Bottom Line: The Merino populations from Australia, New Zealand and China were clearly separated from their European ancestors.We observed a genetic substructuring in the Spanish Merino population, which reflects recent herd management practices.To explain how the current Merino and Merino-derived breeds were obtained, we propose a scenario that includes several consecutive migrations of sheep populations that may serve as working hypotheses for subsequent studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Biotecnologie, Biofarmaceutica, Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", Via Amendola 165/A 70126, Bari, Italy. elena.ciani@uniba.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds have been widely distributed across the world, both as purebred and admixed populations. They represent an economically and historically important genetic resource which over time has been used as the basis for the development of new breeds. In order to examine the genetic influence of Merino in the context of a global collection of domestic sheep breeds, we analyzed genotype data that were obtained with the OvineSNP50 BeadChip (Illumina) for 671 individuals from 37 populations, including a subset of breeds from the Sheep HapMap dataset.

Results: Based on a multi-dimensional scaling analysis, we highlighted four main clusters in this dataset, which corresponded to wild sheep, mouflon, primitive North European breeds and modern sheep (including Merino), respectively. The neighbor-network analysis further differentiated North-European and Mediterranean domestic breeds, with subclusters of Merino and Merino-derived breeds, other Spanish breeds and other Italian breeds. Model-based clustering, migration analysis and haplotype sharing indicated that genetic exchange occurred between archaic populations and also that a more recent Merino-mediated gene flow to several Merino-derived populations around the world took place. The close relationship between Spanish Merino and other Spanish breeds was consistent with an Iberian origin for the Merino breed, with possible earlier contributions from other Mediterranean stocks. The Merino populations from Australia, New Zealand and China were clearly separated from their European ancestors. We observed a genetic substructuring in the Spanish Merino population, which reflects recent herd management practices.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that intensive gene flow, founder effects and geographic isolation are the main factors that determined the genetic makeup of current Merino and Merino-derived breeds. To explain how the current Merino and Merino-derived breeds were obtained, we propose a scenario that includes several consecutive migrations of sheep populations that may serve as working hypotheses for subsequent studies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Synoptic scheme that summarizes the hypothetical origin and relationships between Merino and Merino-derived sheep populations at the Roman times (a) and from XV to XVIII century (b) in the Mediterranean area, from XVIII to XX century in Asia (c) and from XIX to XX century in Australia and New Zealand (d)
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Fig1: Synoptic scheme that summarizes the hypothetical origin and relationships between Merino and Merino-derived sheep populations at the Roman times (a) and from XV to XVIII century (b) in the Mediterranean area, from XVIII to XX century in Asia (c) and from XIX to XX century in Australia and New Zealand (d)

Mentions: Sheep domestication from its wild ancestor (Ovis orientalis) occurred more than 11 000 years B.C. in the Fertile Crescent (south west Asia) [1]. Initially raised for meat production, sheep reached Europe and the Mediterranean regions ca. 6000 B.C. during the Neolithic revolution [2]. Sheep genetic stocks that presented phenotypic traits useful to the fiber (wool) industry were introduced later and most of the modern breeds derived from these [3]. In Europe, the presence of sheep breeds with a primitive appearance that is not adapted to wool production, and of the feral mouflon, is probably a legacy of the early Neolithic sheep wave. During Roman times, Latin authors described different sheep breeds according to their fleece characteristics and celebrated the fine wool of ewes from the Apulia region, in Southern Italy [4]. Columella reported that during the first century B.C. fine-wool ewes from Apulia were introduced in the southern part of Spain (Baetica) and that they were mated with coarse-wool rams from Africa. During the same period, the Greek author Strabo wrote about the beautiful dark color of the Spanish native breeds. These breeds are believed to have been crossed with sheep imported by Arabs and are probably the main ancestor of the Merino breed, which was developed since the late Middle Ages [5] (Fig. 1a).Fig. 1


Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds: a genome-wide intercontinental study.

Ciani E, Lasagna E, D'Andrea M, Alloggio I, Marroni F, Ceccobelli S, Delgado Bermejo JV, Sarti FM, Kijas J, Lenstra JA, Pilla F, International Sheep Genomics Consorti - Genet. Sel. Evol. (2015)

Synoptic scheme that summarizes the hypothetical origin and relationships between Merino and Merino-derived sheep populations at the Roman times (a) and from XV to XVIII century (b) in the Mediterranean area, from XVIII to XX century in Asia (c) and from XIX to XX century in Australia and New Zealand (d)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4536749&req=5

Fig1: Synoptic scheme that summarizes the hypothetical origin and relationships between Merino and Merino-derived sheep populations at the Roman times (a) and from XV to XVIII century (b) in the Mediterranean area, from XVIII to XX century in Asia (c) and from XIX to XX century in Australia and New Zealand (d)
Mentions: Sheep domestication from its wild ancestor (Ovis orientalis) occurred more than 11 000 years B.C. in the Fertile Crescent (south west Asia) [1]. Initially raised for meat production, sheep reached Europe and the Mediterranean regions ca. 6000 B.C. during the Neolithic revolution [2]. Sheep genetic stocks that presented phenotypic traits useful to the fiber (wool) industry were introduced later and most of the modern breeds derived from these [3]. In Europe, the presence of sheep breeds with a primitive appearance that is not adapted to wool production, and of the feral mouflon, is probably a legacy of the early Neolithic sheep wave. During Roman times, Latin authors described different sheep breeds according to their fleece characteristics and celebrated the fine wool of ewes from the Apulia region, in Southern Italy [4]. Columella reported that during the first century B.C. fine-wool ewes from Apulia were introduced in the southern part of Spain (Baetica) and that they were mated with coarse-wool rams from Africa. During the same period, the Greek author Strabo wrote about the beautiful dark color of the Spanish native breeds. These breeds are believed to have been crossed with sheep imported by Arabs and are probably the main ancestor of the Merino breed, which was developed since the late Middle Ages [5] (Fig. 1a).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: The Merino populations from Australia, New Zealand and China were clearly separated from their European ancestors.We observed a genetic substructuring in the Spanish Merino population, which reflects recent herd management practices.To explain how the current Merino and Merino-derived breeds were obtained, we propose a scenario that includes several consecutive migrations of sheep populations that may serve as working hypotheses for subsequent studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Biotecnologie, Biofarmaceutica, Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", Via Amendola 165/A 70126, Bari, Italy. elena.ciani@uniba.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds have been widely distributed across the world, both as purebred and admixed populations. They represent an economically and historically important genetic resource which over time has been used as the basis for the development of new breeds. In order to examine the genetic influence of Merino in the context of a global collection of domestic sheep breeds, we analyzed genotype data that were obtained with the OvineSNP50 BeadChip (Illumina) for 671 individuals from 37 populations, including a subset of breeds from the Sheep HapMap dataset.

Results: Based on a multi-dimensional scaling analysis, we highlighted four main clusters in this dataset, which corresponded to wild sheep, mouflon, primitive North European breeds and modern sheep (including Merino), respectively. The neighbor-network analysis further differentiated North-European and Mediterranean domestic breeds, with subclusters of Merino and Merino-derived breeds, other Spanish breeds and other Italian breeds. Model-based clustering, migration analysis and haplotype sharing indicated that genetic exchange occurred between archaic populations and also that a more recent Merino-mediated gene flow to several Merino-derived populations around the world took place. The close relationship between Spanish Merino and other Spanish breeds was consistent with an Iberian origin for the Merino breed, with possible earlier contributions from other Mediterranean stocks. The Merino populations from Australia, New Zealand and China were clearly separated from their European ancestors. We observed a genetic substructuring in the Spanish Merino population, which reflects recent herd management practices.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that intensive gene flow, founder effects and geographic isolation are the main factors that determined the genetic makeup of current Merino and Merino-derived breeds. To explain how the current Merino and Merino-derived breeds were obtained, we propose a scenario that includes several consecutive migrations of sheep populations that may serve as working hypotheses for subsequent studies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus