Macabea cattle are the only Bos taurus breed that have adapted to the wet tropical conditions of the Amazon. This breed has integrated into the culture of the indigenous Shuar-Asuar nations probably since its origins, being one of the few European zoogenetic resources assimilated by the deep-jungle Amazon communities. Despite its potential for local endogenous sustainable development, this breed is currently endangered. The present study used molecular genetics tools to investigate the within- and between-breeds diversity, in order to characterize the breed population, define its associations with other breeds, and infer its origin and evolution. The within-breed genetic diversity showed high values, as indicated by all genetic parameters, such as the mean number of alleles (MNA = 7.25±2.03), the observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.72±0.02) and the expected heterozygosity (He = 0.72±0.02). The between-breeds diversity analysis, which included factorial correspondence analysis, Reynolds genetic distance, neighbor-joining analysis, and genetic structure analysis, showed that the Macabea breed belongs to the group of the American Creoles, with a Southern-Spain origin. Our outcomes demonstrated that the Macabea breed has a high level of purity and null influences of exotic cosmopolitan breeds with European or Asiatic origin. This breed is an important zoogenetic resource of Ecuador, with relevant and unique attributes; therefore, there is an urgent need to develop conservation strategies for the Macabea breed.
Vargas, J., Landi, V., Martínez, A., Gómez, M., Camacho, M. E., Álvarez, L. Á., … Delgado, J. V. (2016). Molecular study of the amazonian Macabea cattle history. PLoS ONE, 11(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165398