Project description:We employed mtDNA and nuclear SNPs to investigate the genetic diversity of sheep breeds of three countries of the Mediterranean basin: Albania, Greece, and Italy. In total, 154 unique mtDNA haplotypes were detected by means of D-loop sequence analysis. The major nucleotide diversity was observed in Albania. We identified haplogroups, A, B, and C in Albanian and Greek samples, while Italian individuals clustered in groups A and B. In general, the data show a pattern reflecting old migrations that occurred in postneolithic and historical times. PCA analysis on SNP data differentiated breeds with good correspondence to geographical locations. This could reflect geographical isolation, selection operated by local sheep farmers, and different flock management and breed admixture that occurred in the last centuries.
Project description:Although sheep (Ovis aries) have been one of the most exploited domestic animals in Estonia since the Late Bronze Age, relatively little is known about their genetic history. Here, we explore temporal changes in Estonian sheep populations and their mitochondrial genetic diversity over the last 3000 years. We target a 558 base pair fragment of the mitochondrial hypervariable region in 115 ancient sheep from 71 sites in Estonia (c. 1200 BC-AD 1900s), 19 ancient samples from Latvia, Russia, Poland and Greece (6800 BC-AD 1700), as well as 44 samples of modern Kihnu native sheep breed. Our analyses revealed: (1) 49 mitochondrial haplotypes, associated with sheep haplogroups A and B; (2) high haplotype diversity in Estonian ancient sheep; (3) continuity in mtDNA haplotypes through time; (4) possible population expansion during the first centuries of the Middle Ages (associated with the establishment of the new power regime related to 13th century crusades); (5) significant difference in genetic diversity between ancient populations and modern native sheep, in agreement with the beginning of large-scale breeding in the 19th century and population decline in local sheep. Overall, our results suggest that in spite of the observed fluctuations in ancient sheep populations, and changes in the natural and historical conditions, the utilisation of local sheep has been constant in the territory of Estonia, displaying matrilineal continuity from the Middle Bronze Age through the Modern Period, and into modern native sheep.
Project description:The molecular and population genetic evidence of the phylogenetic status of the Tibetan sheep (Ovis aries) is not well understood, and little is known about this species' genetic diversity. This knowledge gap is partly due to the difficulty of sample collection. This is the first work to address this question. Here, the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship of 636 individual Tibetan sheep from fifteen populations were assessed using 642 complete sequences of the mitochondrial DNA D-loop. Samples were collected from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau area in China, and reference data were obtained from the six reference breed sequences available in GenBank. The length of the sequences varied considerably, between 1031 and 1259 bp. The haplotype diversity and nucleotide diversity were 0.992±0.010 and 0.019±0.001, respectively. The average number of nucleotide differences was 19.635. The mean nucleotide composition of the 350 haplotypes was 32.961% A, 29.708% T, 22.892% C, 14.439% G, 62.669% A+T, and 37.331% G+C. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all four previously defined haplogroups (A, B, C, and D) were found in the 636 individuals of the fifteen Tibetan sheep populations but that only the D haplogroup was found in Linzhou sheep. Further, the clustering analysis divided the fifteen Tibetan sheep populations into at least two clusters. The estimation of the demographic parameters from the mismatch analyses showed that haplogroups A, B, and C had at least one demographic expansion in Tibetan sheep. These results contribute to the knowledge of Tibetan sheep populations and will help inform future conservation programs about the Tibetan sheep native to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
Project description:The genetic diversity of the sheep breeds in the Arab countries might be considered to be a mirror of the ecology of the region. In this study, the genetic structure and diversity of sheep breeds from Saudi Arabia (Harri, Najdi, Naemi, Arb, and Rufidi) and Awassi sheep from Jordan as an out-group were investigated using 19 microsatellites. All the breeds had high intra-population genetic diversity expressed as allelic number (7.33) and richness (2.9) and, expected heterozygosity (0.77). Structure analysis revealed three main gene pools underlying the ancestral genetic diversity of the study populations. The first pool had Harri, Najdi, and Rufidi breeds; the second had Naemi and Awassi breeds, and the third had the Arb breed which was significantly differentiated from the other breeds. Factorial correspondence analysis lent further support to the presence of the three gene pools. Although the outgroup Awassi sheep was more clearly differentiated, it still genetically close to Naemi sheep. The differentiation of the Arb breed could have been resulted from geographic and reproductive isolation. On the other hand, the genetic structure of the other two gene pools could be the result of the past and recent gene flow between individuals reared in the region known to be the center for animal husbandry and trading until the current time.
Project description:The ovine MHC class IIa is known to consist of six to eight loci located in close proximity on chromosome 20, forming haplotypes that are typically inherited without recombination. Here, we characterise the class IIa haplotypes within the Soay sheep (Ovis aries) on St. Kilda to assess the diversity present within this unmanaged island population. We used a stepwise sequence-based genotyping strategy to identify alleles at seven polymorphic MHC class IIa loci in a sample of 118 Soay sheep from four cohorts spanning 15 years of the long-term study on St. Kilda. DRB1, the most polymorphic MHC class II locus, was characterised first in all 118 sheep and identified six alleles. Using DRB1 homozygous animals, the DQA (DQA1, DQA2 and DQA2-like) and DQB (DQB1, DQB2 and DQB2-like) loci were sequenced, revealing eight haplotypes. Both DQ1/DQ2 and DQ2/DQ2-like haplotype configurations were identified and a single haplotype carrying three DQB alleles. A test sample of 94 further individuals typed at the DRB1 and DQA loci found no exceptions to the eight identified haplotypes and a haplotype homozygosity of 21.3%. We found evidence of historic positive selection at DRB1, DQA and DQB. The limited variation at MHC class IIa loci in Soay sheep enabled haplotype characterisation but showed that no single locus could capture the full extent of the expressed variation in the region.
Project description:In this research, Ovar-DRB1 gene in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene region was surveyed by DNA sequencing in some of the native sheep breeds that are reared in Turkey. A total of 80 samples were collected from eight different Turkish native sheep breeds, and these samples were used for DNA sequencing. The exon 2 region of Ovar-DRB1 in the MHC gene region was polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified and sequenced. A total of 25 new alleles were revealed in the Ovar-DRB1 gene in Turkish native sheep breeds with 24 variable sites; only 13 sites were parsimony informative. The average pairwise genetic distance was 0.029?% for the Ovar-DRB1 gene exon 2 region. The sequence variations at eight different positions (7026, 7036, 7040, 7053, 7059, 7069, 7131 and 7214) are found in all of the studied samples. G ? C transversion at position 7081 is only seen in Akkaraman sheep breed, whereas T ? C transition at position 7097 is only seen in one sample from the Akkaraman breed. Overall, two main groups were detected among the 25 alleles from Turkish native sheep breeds. All Da?liç and Kivircik alleles and one allele from Karayaka, Malya and Sakiz are grouped together while all the other breeds are grouped in the other branch.
Project description:High rates of gene duplication and the highest levels of functional allelic diversity in vertebrate genomes are the main hallmarks of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a multigene family with a primordial role in pathogen recognition. The usual tight linkage among MHC gene duplicates may provide an opportunity for the evolution of haplotypes that associate functionally divergent alleles and thus grant the transmission of optimal levels of diversity to coming generations. Even though such associations may be a crucial component of disease resistance, this hypothesis has been given little attention in wild populations. Here, we leveraged pedigree data from a barn owl (Tyto alba) population to characterize MHC haplotype structure across two MHC class I (MHC-I) and two MHC class IIB (MHC-IIB) duplicates, in order to test the hypothesis that haplotypes' genetic diversity is higher than expected from randomly associated alleles. After showing that MHC loci are tightly linked within classes, we found limited evidence for shifts towards MHC haplotypes combining high diversity. Neither amino acid nor functional within-haplotype diversity were significantly higher than in random sets of haplotypes, regardless of MHC class. Our results therefore provide no evidence for selection towards high-diversity MHC haplotypes in barn owls. Rather, high rates of concerted evolution may constrain the evolution of high-diversity haplotypes at MHC-I, while, in contrast, for MHC-IIB, fixed differences among loci may provide barn owls with already optimized functional diversity. This suggests that at the MHC-I and MHC-IIB respectively, different evolutionary dynamics may govern the evolution of within-haplotype diversity.
Project description:Diversity within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) reflects the immunological fitness of a population. MHC-linked microsatellite markers provide a simple and an inexpensive method for studying MHC diversity in large-scale studies. We have developed 6 MHC-linked microsatellite markers in the domestic cat and used these, in conjunction with 5 neutral microsatellites, to assess MHC diversity in domestic mixed breed (n = 129) and purebred Burmese (n = 61) cat populations in Australia. The MHC of outbred Australian cats is polymorphic (average allelic richness = 8.52), whereas the Burmese population has significantly lower MHC diversity (average allelic richness = 6.81; P < 0.01). The MHC-linked microsatellites along with MHC cloning and sequencing demonstrated moderate MHC diversity in cheetahs (n = 13) and extremely low diversity in Gir lions (n = 13). Our MHC-linked microsatellite markers have potential future use in diversity and disease studies in other populations and breeds of cats as well as in wild felid species.
Project description:Highly polymorphic genes with central roles in lymphocyte mediated immune surveillance are grouped together in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in higher vertebrates. Generally, across vertebrate species the class II MHC DRA gene is highly conserved with only limited allelic variation. Here however, we provide evidence of trans-species polymorphism at the DRA locus in domestic sheep (Ovis aries). We describe variation at the Ovar-DRA locus that is far in excess of anything described in other vertebrate species. The divergent DRA allele (Ovar-DRA*0201) differs from the sheep reference sequences by 20 nucleotides, 12 of which appear non-synonymous. Furthermore, DRA*0201 is paired with an equally divergent DRB1 allele (Ovar-DRB1*0901), which is consistent with an independent evolutionary history for the DR sub-region within this MHC haplotype. No recombination was observed between the divergent DRA and B genes in a range of breeds and typical levels of MHC class II DR protein expression were detected at the surface of leukocyte populations obtained from animals homozygous for the DRA*0201, DRB1*0901 haplotype. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis groups Ovar-DRA*0201 with DRA sequences derived from species within the Oryx and Alcelaphus genera rather than clustering with other ovine and caprine DRA alleles. Tests for Darwinian selection identified 10 positively selected sites on the branch leading to Ovar-DRA*0201, three of which are predicted to be associated with the binding of peptide antigen. As the Ovis, Oryx and Alcelaphus genera have not shared a common ancestor for over 30 million years, the DRA*0201 and DRB1*0901 allelic pair is likely to be of ancient origin and present in the founding population from which all contemporary domestic sheep breeds are derived. The conservation of the integrity of this unusual DR allelic pair suggests some selective advantage which is likely to be associated with the presentation of pathogen antigen to T-cells and the induction of protective immunity.