Open Access Research article

Ascertaining gene flow patterns in livestock populations of developing countries: a case study in Burkina Faso goat

Amadou Traoré12, Isabel Álvarez2, Iván Fernández2, Lucía Pérez-Pardal2, Adama Kaboré1, Gisèlle MS Ouédraogo-Sanou3, Yacouba Zaré1, Hamidou H Tambourá1 and Félix Goyache2*

Author Affiliations

1 INERA, 04 BP 8645, Ouagadougou 04, Burkina Faso

2 SERIDA-Deva, C/Camino de Rioseco 1225, E-33394, Gijón (Asturias), Spain

3 Laboratoire National d’Elevage, 01 BP 7021, Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso

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BMC Genetics 2012, 13:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-13-35

Published: 7 May 2012



Introgression of Sahel livestock genes southwards in West Africa may be favoured by human activity and the increase of the duration of the dry seasons since the 1970’s. The aim of this study is to assess the gene flow patterns in Burkina Faso goat and to ascertain the most likely factors influencing geographic patterns of genetic variation in the Burkina Faso goat population.


A total of 520 goat were sampled in 23 different locations of Burkina Faso and genotyped for a set of 19 microsatellites. Data deposited in the Dryad repository: webcite. Although overall differentiation is poor (FST = 0.067 ± 0.003), the goat population of Burkina Faso is far from being homogeneous. Barrier analysis pointed out the existence of: a) genetic discontinuities in the Central and Southeast Burkina Faso; and b) genetic differences within the goat sampled in the Sahel or the Sudan areas of Burkina Faso. Principal component analysis and admixture proportion scores were computed for each population sampled and used to construct interpolation maps. Furthermore, Population Graph analysis revealed that the Sahel and the Sudan environmental areas of Burkina Faso were connected through a significant number of extended edges, which would be consistent with the hypothesis of long-distance dispersal. Genetic variation of Burkina Faso goat followed a geographic-related pattern. This pattern of variation is likely to be related to the presence of vectors of African animal trypanosomosis. Partial Mantel test identified the present Northern limit of trypanosome vectors as the most significant landscape boundary influencing the genetic variability of Burkina Faso goat (p = 0.008). The contribution of Sahel goat genes to the goat populations in the Northern and Eastern parts of the Sudan-Sahel area of Burkina Faso was substantial. The presence of perennial streams explains the existence of trypanosome vectors. The South half of the Nakambé river (Southern Ouagadougou) and the Mouhoun river loop determined, respectively, the Eastern and Northern limits for the expansion of Sahelian goat genes. Furthermore, results from partial Mantel test suggest that the introgression of Sahelian goat genes into Djallonké goat using human-influenced genetic corridors has a limited influence when compared to the biological boundary defined by the northern limits for the distribution of the tsetse fly. However, the genetic differences found between the goat sampled in Bobo Dioulasso and the other populations located in the Sudan area of Burkina Faso may be explained by the broad goat trade favoured by the main road of the country.


The current analysis clearly suggests that genetic variation in Burkina Faso goat: a) follows a North to South clinal; and b) is affected by the distribution of the tsetse fly that imposes a limit to the Sahelian goat expansion due to their trypanosusceptibility. Here we show how extensive surveys on livestock populations can be useful to indirectly assess the consequences of climate change and human action in developing countries.