Diversity assessment among native Middle Egypt rabbit populations in North Upper-Egypt province by microsatellite polymorphism

A.M. Emam, A.A.A. Azoz, G.M.K. Mehaisen, N. Ferrand, N.A. Ahmed

Abstract

Safeguarding biodiversity is an important goal for animal production in developed countries. This study investigated genetic diversity among native Middle-Egypt rabbit (NMER) populations in North Upper-Egypt province by using microsatellite polymorphism. Nineteen microsatellite loci were used in the study and an area of 231 km was surveyed, as native rabbits covered 14 points belonging to four Northern Upper Egypt governorates (South Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef and Minya). Standard statistical parameters of genetic variability within and between populations confirmed that the highest genetic diversity was found towards the south. Among NMER populations, the mean number of alleles per locus was lowest in South Giza (5.32), while it was highest in Minya (6.00). This study found that NMER featured a high number of private alleles ranging between 7 and 11 (mean value was 10.5). Results also showed a high genetic diversity in NMER populations and that heterozygosity ranged between 0.384 and 0.445, strongly indicating extensive genetic variation in the NMER populations. The mean values of observed and expected heterozygosity were 0.405 and 0.612, respectively. Factorial correspondence analysis and neighbour joining trees (NJ) showed 2 main NMER rabbit groups: the Northern group (South Giza and Fayoum) and the Southern group (Beni Suef and Minya). All populations showed a high percentage of assignment in this study (0.913 to 0.946). The structure analysis showed that each population existed in separate clusters. This research provides an overview of genetic diversity of NMER populations in the Northern Upper Egypt province for the first time. In conclusion, results of this study could be used to designate priorities for conservation of NMER populations.


Keywords

rabbit; North Upper Egypt; genetic diversity; microsatellite

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