Genetic diversity of Ghanaian local chicken populations based on microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analysis
In Ghana, local chickens are raised across distinct agro-ecological zones and constitute unique populations with variable phenotypes that need to be characterized to provide needed information for the conservation of useful genotypes against future needs. In particular, the Interior Savannah (GHIS) in the north, the Forest (GHFO) in the southwest and the Coastal Savannah (GHCS) along the coast in the southeast are of special interest because they cover a wide land area and have contrasting geographical features. An earlier study on the genetic diversity of local chicken populations in GHIS and GHFO based on microsatellite polymorphisms revealed high genetic diversity but absence of substructuring. In the current study, we expanded the scope by (1) including the local chicken population in GHCS, (2) carrying out population genetic analysis based on microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms, and (3) examining their extent of genetic differentiation and phylogenetic relationships with three Japanese native breeds, three purebred lines, and a wild-derived Red Junglefowl population. The results suggest that the Ghanaian chicken populations have a variety of unique alleles and are characterized by high genetic diversity with little differentiation according to agro-ecological zones. They seem to derive from a combination of egg- and meat-type breeds and these findings were corroborated by mtDNA analysis that indicated a common matriarchal lineage of Ghanaian local chickens with the ancestral Red Junglefowl.
Keywords: Ghanaian Local Chickens, Genetic Diversity, Microsatellite, Mitochondrial DNA.