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D'Andrea M.,University of Molise | Pariset L.,University of Tuscia | Matassino D.,Consorzio per la Sperimentazione | Valentini A.,University of Tuscia | And 3 more authors.
Italian Journal of Animal Science

The Italian Podolian is an autochthonous breed belonging to the grey steppe cattle group. In the past, the Podolian was present throughout all of the Adriatic and the southern part of Italy, but now it is restricted to four regions and displays morphological differences according to the region. It is thought that the Podolian contributed heavily to the genetic make-up of the Chianina and Romagnola breeds, while contrasting opinions exist regarding the relationship between the Podolian and the Piemontese. This paper aimed at characterizing genetic variability and structure by means of microsatellite loci to assess the relationship between the Podolian and the most relevant European breeds, and to detect evidence of selection in the considered breeds by investigating the existence of outlier loci. The DNA of 134 Italian Podolian individuals from 14 different herds in 4 breeding areas were collected, genotyped at 30 microsatellite loci and compared to 13 Italian and European breeds, including the grey type ones and using N'dama as the outgroup. The Podolian showed the highest values of observed heterozygosity and polymorphism content. Moreover in a subset of 50 samples (chosen according to geographic origin), polymorphism data analysis evidenced the absence of a geographically determined genetic structure. The hierarchical population clustering evidenced a Podolian cluster at K=5 and phylogenetic tree based on Reynold's distances confirmed the genetic links between the Podolian breeds. Two loci presented significantly low FST values, suggesting that they could be under the effect of balanced selection. It can be concluded that Italian Podolian has no genetic subdivision, contains a notable amount of genetic variability and is closely related to the other Podolian type breeds. © M. D'Andrea et al., 2011. Source

Ciampolini R.,University of Pisa | Cecchi F.,University of Pisa | Ciani E.,University of Bari | Albenzio M.,University of Foggia | And 5 more authors.
Industrie Alimentari

The aim of this work was to verify the possibility to use molecular methodologies and optimize a deterministic method for the assessment of a genetic ovine meat using the analysis of coat color gene polymorphisms. The studied animals, 5 for each breed, belong to 7 Italian sheep breeds. This work has investigated the polymorphism of six candidate coat colour genes. Several polymorphisms were found and some of them are new. An Agouti allele that seems to be specific to the Altamurana Breed and an allele of TYRP2 specific to the Sarda Breed were identified. This research highlights the presence of characteristics that encourage further studies of these genes taking into consideration a larger number of animals. Source

Ciani E.,University of Bari | Ciampolini R.,University of Pisa | D'Andrea M.,University of Molise | Castellana E.,University of Bari | And 7 more authors.
Small Ruminant Research

Italy has a long history of sheep breeding and, despite a dramatic number contraction occurred in the last century, still counts several local sheep breeds that may represent a unique source of genetic diversity. Here we present the results from the genetic characterization of seven Italian dairy sheep breeds by 19 STR markers. High levels of polymorphism were generally detected, with 16.2 average alleles per locus and an average gene diversity of 0.79. The within-breed analysis highlighted, in six out of the seven breeds, a remarkable proportion of loci displaying significant heterozygote deficit. Moreover, within-breed percentages of locus pairs with significant genotypic disequilibrium were, for all breeds, markedly higher than expected by chance thus suggesting the presence of population stratification. The subdivision was particularly evident for the Leccese sheep breed and was confirmed by the STRUCTURE analysis. On the contrary, results generally highlighted Sarda as the most homogeneous, but less inbred, population, consistently with its large census size and longstanding effective genetic management practices. Both STRUCTURE analysis and measures of genetic distance, with the exception of those based on allele sharing, suggested the presence of a phylogeographic gradient, with Sarda as the most differentiated breed and continental breeds from the same region tending to group closer to each other. Taken together, the results highlighted that all the Italian breeds display a genetic variability content comparable to other European breeds, thus demonstrating their importance as genetic reservoir for future selection options. However, management actions should be more effectively implemented in local endangered breeds in order to reduce inbreeding and within-breed sub-structuring. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Matassino D.,Consorzio per la Sperimentazione | Cecchi F.,University of Pisa | Ciani F.,Consorzio per la Sperimentazione | Incoronato C.,Consorzio per la Sperimentazione | And 3 more authors.
Italian Journal of Animal Science

Since 13rd century, Italian domestic autochthonous donkey population has been characterised by Mediterranean grey mousy cruciate ancestral phenotype, currently typical of Amiata donkey (AD) genetic type. This phenotype persisted up to the 16th century when a marked introduction of Hispanic and French big sized and dark bay or darkish coloured sires occurred. In the context of a safeguard programme of Latial Equide resources, the aim of this research was to evaluate the genetic diversity and similarity between the AD breed and an autochthonous donkey population native from Lazio, the Viterbese donkey (VD), using molecular markers. A total of 135 animals (50 AD and 85 VD) were genetically characterised by using 16 short tandem repeat markers. A high genetic differentiation between populations (FST=0.158; P<0.01) and a low betweenbreeds genetic similarity (0.233±0.085) were observed. Correspondence analysis, the result of STRUCTURE software analysis and analysis of molecular variance would seem to indicate genetically different entities as well. It would be desirable to increase the number of comparison with other breeds to better understand the origin of VD. Moreover, results obtained in this study suggest that the loss of genetic variation observed in VD could mainly derive from unnoticed sub-population structuring (Wahlund effect), rather than to other factors such as inbreeding, null alleles or selection influence. © D. Matassino et al., 2014. Source

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