Molecular study of the amazonian Macabea cattle history

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Abstract

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.

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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

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