Open Access Research article

Geographical patterning of sixteen goat breeds from Italy, Albania and Greece assessed by Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

Lorraine Pariset1*, Antonella Cuteri1, Christina Ligda2, Paolo Ajmone-Marsan3, Alessio Valentini1 and ECONOGENE Consortium4

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Produzioni Animali, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy

2 National Agricultural Research Foundation, Thessaloniki, Greece

3 Istituto di Zootecnica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy

4 http://www.econogene.eu

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BMC Ecology 2009, 9:20  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-9-20

Published: 2 September 2009

Abstract

Background

SNP data of goats of three Mediterranean countries were used for population studies and reconstruction of geographical patterning. 496 individuals belonging to Italian, Albanian and Greek breeds were genotyped to assess the basic population parameters.

Results

A total of 26 SNPs were used, for a total of 12,896 genotypes assayed. Statistical analysis revealed that breeds are not so similar in terms of genetic variability, as reported in studies performed using different markers. The Mantel test showed a strongly significant correlation between genetic and geographic distance. Also, PCA analysis revealed that breeds are grouped according to geographical origin, with the exception of the Greek Skopelos breed.

Conclusion

Our data point out that the use of SNP markers to analyze a wider breed sample could help in understanding the recent evolutionary history of domestic goats. We found correlation between genetic diversity and geographic distance. Also PCA analysis shows that the breeds are well differentiated, with good correspondence to geographical locations, thus confirming the correlation between geographical and genetic distances. This suggests that migration history of the species played a pivotal role in the present-day structure of the breeds and a scenario in which coastal routes were easier for migrating in comparison with inland routes. A westward coastal route to Italy through Greece could have led to gene flow along the Northern Mediterranean.