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Genetic variability of dromedary camel populations based on microsatellite markers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 June 2020

M. Piro
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Reproduction, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
F. E. Mabsoute
Department of Animal Production and Biotechnology, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
N. El Khattaby
Department of Animal Production and Biotechnology, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
H. Laghouaouta
Department of Animal Production and Biotechnology, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
I. Boujenane*
Department of Animal Production and Biotechnology, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
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Understanding existing levels of genetic variability of camel populations is capital for conservation activities. This study aims to provide information on the genetic diversity of four dromedary populations, including Guerzni, Harcha, Khouari and Marmouri. Blood samples from 227 individuals belonging to the aforementioned populations were obtained and genotyped by 16 microsatellite markers. A total of 215 alleles were observed, with the mean number of alleles per locus being 13.4 ± 6.26. All loci were polymorphic in the studied populations. The average expected heterozygosity varied from a maximum of 0.748 ± 0.122 in Guerzni population to a minimum of 0.702 ± 0.128 in Harcha population; Guerzni population showed the highest value of observed heterozygosity (0.699 ± 0.088), whereas Harcha population the lowest (0.646 ± 0.130). Mean estimates of F-statistics obtained over loci were FIS = 0.0726, FIT = 0.0876 and FST = 0.0162. The lowest genetic distance was obtained between Guerzni and Khouari (0.023), and the highest genetic distance between Harcha and Marmouri (0.251). The neighbour-joining phylogenetic tree showed two groups of populations indicating a cluster of Guerzni, Khouari and Marmouri, and a clear isolation of Harcha. The genetic distances, the factorial correspondence analysis, the analysis of genetic structure and the phylogenetic tree between populations revealed significant differences between Harcha and other populations, and a high similarity between Guerzni, Khouari and Marmouri. It is concluded from this study that the camel genetic resources studied are well diversified. However, the herd management, especially the random selection of breeding animals, can increase the level of genetic mixing between different populations, mainly among Guerzni, Khouari and Marmouri, that live in the same habitat and grazing area.

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© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Animal Consortium

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