African Journal of Biotechnology

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Genetic characterization of the Mascaruna goat, a Sicilian autochthonous population, using molecular markers

Salvatore Mastrangelo, Marco Tolone, Maria Teresa Sardina, Rosalia Di Gerlando, Baldassare Portolano


The aim of this work was to characterize a Sicilian autochthonous goat population using microsatellite markers and genetic polymorphisms at the casein genes. In order to investigate the genetic structure of the Mascaruna goat, a total of 60 (20 Girgentana, 20 mixed populations, and 20 Mascaruna) individuals were analyzed, using a panel of 18 microsatellite markers. Moreover, the Mascaruna goats were genotyped at casein loci using several molecular techniques. Based on the genetic structure at casein genes, the Mascaruna goat was similar to most goat breeds from the Mediterranean area, which are characterized by the predominance of strong alleles. The low value of genetic differentiation among populations (Fst=0.027) could indicate that these populations were differentiated little probably due to gene flow and breeding practices. The analysis of genetic distances between groups indicated that the Mascaruna goat was the most distanced group, and this result was confirmed by the unrooted neighbor-joining dendrogram, the factorial correspondence analysis, the presence of several private alleles and the Bayesian assignment test. However, the Mascaruna group, despite the influences from other populations, presents a certain degree of uniqueness and could be considered as a population with particular genetic background.

Keywords: Local goat population, genetic characterization, microsatellite markers, casein gene cluster

African Journal of BiotechnologyVol. 12(24), pp. 3758-3767

AJOL African Journals Online