Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 39, Number 1, January-February 2007
Page(s) 91 - 103
Genet. Sel. Evol. 39 (2007) 91-103
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2006034

Mitochondrial diversity and the origin of Iberian sheep

Susana Pedrosaa, Juan-José Arranza, Nuno Britob, Antonio Molinac, Fermín San Primitivoa and Yolanda Bayóna

a  Departamento de Producción Animal, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
b  Departamento de Ciências e Recursos Animais, Escola Superior Agrária, Istituto Politecnico Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Portugal
c  Departamento de Genética, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

(Received 17 March 2006; accepted 11 July 2006; published online 11 January 2007)

Abstract - Mitochondrial DNA diversity was analysed in 19 Iberian and six foreign sheep breeds. Three mtDNA lineages (B, A and C) were found in the Iberian sheep, with type B clearly predominating over the others. The results were analysed for each of the morphologically determined breed groups in Iberian sheep: Merino, Entrefino, Churro and Iberian trunks. MtDNA lineage C was found only in the Iberian trunk composed of Montesina and Ojalada. These two populations had high mtDNA variability, and in the Iberian sheep only Merino Branco had more variation. The other three Merino types studied showed moderate variability, including the most authentic Merino, the Spanish Merino. These three Merinos clustered closely in a multidimensional scaling representation of distances, while the fourth breed (Merino Branco) showed a clear separation. As for the other two trunks, breeds from the Churro group showed greater maternal uniformity while results for populations included in the so-called Entrefino trunk seemed to have a more heterogeneous maternal origin. The results obtained are discussed with available data from nuclear markers and with morphological classifications, and all this information is analysed in relation to the origin of the different Iberian sheep breeds.

Key words: mitochondrial DNA / local sheep / sheep origin

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006