Molecular genetic diversity and conservation priorities of Egyptian rabbit breeds
The limited rabbit resources in Egypt are threatened by the danger of extinction, whereas genetic diversity studies of native breeds could play a vital role in conservation and improvement of these breeds. In this study, 3 native rabbit breeds: Gabali (G), Baladi Red (BR) and Baladi Black (BB), in addition to New Zealand White (NZW), were genotyped using 12 microsatellite markers. All the typed microsatellites were polymorphic by average number of alleles 5.25 per locus. Observed and expected heterozygosity per locus averaged 0.62 and 0.68, respectively. The average polymorphic information content was 0.71 and the highest polymorphic information content was recorded in locus SOL33 by 0.85. All the studied loci except SAT7 and SAT2 showed deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium with significant level. The inbreeding coefficient of the individuals relative to the total population was 0.07. The within-population heterozygote deficit averaged 0.07 and ranged from 0.141 in BR to 0.015 in BB breeds. The highest pairwise differentiation among the populations was recorded between BB and NZW (0.071), while the lowest value was recorded between BR and both of G (0.038) and BB (0.039). The lowest pairwise Nei’s genetic distance was recorded between BR and BB (0.190), while the highest was recorded between NZW and BB breeds (0.409). BR and G populations were clustered together forming an admixed mosaic cluster. BR recorded the highest contribution in the aggregate genetic diversity based on the three prioritisation methods used.
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