Skip to main content Accessibility help

Dissection of ancestral genetic contributions to Creole goat populations

  • N. Sevane (a1), O. Cortés (a1), L. T. Gama (a2), A. Martínez (a3) (a4), P. Zaragoza (a5), M. Amills (a6), D. O. Bedotti (a7), C. Bruno de Sousa (a8), J. Cañon (a1), S. Dunner (a1), C. Ginja (a9), M. R. Lanari (a10), V. Landi (a3) (a4), P. Sponenberg (a11), J. V. Delgado (a3) and The BioGoat Consortium (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5) (a6) (a7) (a8) (a9) (a10) (a11)...


Goats have played a key role as source of nourishment for humans in their expansion all over the world in long land and sea trips. This has guaranteed a place for this species in the important and rapid episode of livestock expansion triggered by Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in the late 1400s. The aims of this study are to provide a comprehensive perspective on genetic diversity in American goat populations and to assess their origins and evolutionary trajectories. This was achieved by combining data from autosomal neutral genetic markers obtained in more than two thousand samples that encompass a wide range of Iberian, African and Creole goat breeds. In general, even though Creole populations differ clearly from each other, they lack a strong geographical pattern of differentiation, such that populations of different admixed ancestry share relatively close locations throughout the large geographical range included in this study. Important Iberian signatures were detected in most Creole populations studied, and many of them, particularly the Cuban Creole, also revealed an important contribution of African breeds. On the other hand, the Brazilian breeds showed a particular genetic structure and were clearly separated from the other Creole populations, with some influence from Cape Verde goats. These results provide a comprehensive characterisation of the present structure of goat genetic diversity, and a dissection of the Iberian and African influences that gave origin to different Creole caprine breeds, disentangling an important part of their evolutionary history. Creole breeds constitute an important reservoir of genetic diversity that justifies the development of appropriate management systems aimed at improving performance without loss of genomic diversity.


Corresponding author



Hide All
Amills, M, Ramírez, O, Tomàs, A, Badaoui, B, Marmi, J, Acosta, J, Sànchez, A and Capote, J 2009. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and origins of South and Central American goats. Animal Genetics 40, 315322.
Belkhir, K, Borsa, P, Chikhi, L, Raufaste, N and Bonhomme, F 2004. GENETIX 4.05, logiciel sous Windows TM pour la génétique des populations. Université de Montpellier II. Retrieved on 15 November 2015 from
Cañón, J, García, D, García-Atance, MA, Obexer-Ruff, G, Lenstra, JA, Ajmone-Marsan, P, Dunner, S and ECONOGENE Consortium 2006. Geographical partitioning of goat diversity in Europe and the Middle East. Animal Genetics 37, 327334.
Evanno, G, Regnaut, S and Goudet, J 2005. Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software STRUCTURE: a simulation study. Molecular Ecology 14, 26112620.
FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 2011. Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No 9, Rome. Retrieved 10 December 2015 from
Felsenstein, J 2004. Inferring phylogenies. Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland, MA, USA.
Ferrando, A, Manunza, A, Jordana, J, Capote, J, Pons, A, Pais, J, Delgado, T, Atoche, P, Cabrera, B, Martínez, A, Landi, V, Delgado, JV, Argüello, A, Vidal, O, Lalueza-Fox, C, Ramírez, O and Amills, M 2015. A mitochondrial analysis reveals distinct founder effect signatures in Canarian and Balearic goats. Animal Genetics 46, 452456.
Gautier, M and Naves, M 2011. Footprints of selection in the ancestral admixture of a New World Creole cattle breed. Molecular Ecology 20, 31283143.
Ginja, C, Gama, LT, Martínez, A, Sevane, N, Martin-Burriel, I, Lanari, MR, Revidatti, MA, Aranguren-Méndez, JA, Bedotti, DO, Ribeiro, MN, Sponenberg, P, Aguirre, EL, Alvarez-Franco, LA, Menezes, MPC, Chacón, E, Galarza, A, Gómez-Urviola, N, Martínez-López, OR, Pimenta-Filho, EC, da Rocha, LL, Stemmer, A, Landi, V and Delgado-Bermejo, JV 2017. Genetic diversity of Creole goats and patterns of population structure reflect the mode of goat colonization in the Americas. Animal Genetics 48, 315329.
Ginja, C, Cortés, O, Gama, LT, Delgado, JV, Amills, M, Bruno de Sousa, C, Cañón, J, Capote, J, Dunner, S, Ferrando, A, Gómez Carpio, M, Jordana, J, Landi, V, Manunza, A, Martin-Burriel, I, Pons Barro, A, Rodellar, C, Santos-Silva, F, Sevane, N, Vidal, O, Zaragoza, P, Martínez, AM (2018). Conservation of goat populations from Southwestern Europe based on molecular diversity criteria. In Sustainable goat production in adverse environments – welfare, health and breeding. (ed. J Simões and C Gutierrez), Vol. I. Chapter 29. Springer (in press).
Goudet, J 2001. FSTAT, a program to estimate and test gene diversities and fixation indices (version 2.9.3). Lausanne University. Retrieved 4 March 2015 from
Huson, DH and Bryant, D 2006. Application of phylogenetic networks in evolutionary studies. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23, 254267.
Li, MH, Zhao, SH, Bian, C, Wang, HS, Wei, H, Liu, B, Yu, M, Fan, B, Chen, SL, Zhu, MJ, Li, SJ, Xiong, TA and Li, K 2002. Genetic relationships among twelve Chinese indigenous goat populations based on microsatellite analysis. Genetics Selection and Evolution 34, 729744.
Martínez, AM, Gama, LT, Cañón, J, Ginja, C, Delgado, JV, Dunner, S, Landi, V, Martín-Burriel, I, Penedo, MC, Rodellar, C, Vega-Pla, JL, Acosta, A, Alvarez, LA, Camacho, E, Cortés, O, Marques, JR, Martínez, R, Martínez, RD, Melucci, L, Martínez-Velázquez, G, Muñoz, JE, Postiglioni, A, Quiroz, J, Sponenberg, P, Uffo, O, Villalobos, A, Zambrano, D and Zaragoza, P 2012. Genetic footprints of Iberian cattle in America 500 years after the arrival of Columbus. PloS One 7, e49066.
Martínez, AM, Gama, LT, Delgado, JV, Cañón, J, Amills, M, de Sousa, CB, Ginja, C, Zaragoza, P, Manunza, A, Landi, V, Sevane, N and BioGoat Consortium 2015. The Southwestern fringe of Europe as an important reservoir of caprine biodiversity. Genetics Selection and Evolution 47, 86.
Martínez, A, Manunza, A, Delgado, JV, Landi, V, Adebambo, A, Ismaila, M, Capote, J, El Ouni, M, Elbeltagy, A, Abushady, AM, Galal, S, Ferrando, A, Gómez, M, Pons, A, Badaoui, B, Jordana, J, Vidal, O and Amills, M 2016. Detecting the existence of gene flow between Spanish and North African goats through a coalescent approach. Scientific Reports 6, 38935.
Naderi, S, Rezaei, HR, Taberlet, P, Zundel, S, Rafat, SA, Naghash, HR, el-Barody, MA, Ertugrul, O, Pompanon, F and Econogene Consortium 2007. Large-scale mitochondrial DNA analysis of the domestic goat reveals six haplogroups with high diversity. PloS ONE 2, e1012.
O’Flanagan, P 2008. Port cities of Atlantic Iberia, c. 1500–1900. Ashgate Publishing Limited, Surrey, UK.
Park, SDE 2001. Trypanotolerance in west African cattle and the population genetic effects of selection. University of Dublin, Ireland.
Pereira, F, Queirós, S, Gusmão, L, Nijman, IJ, Cuppen, E, Lenstra, JA, Econogene Consortium, Davis, SJ, Nejmeddine, F and Amorim, A 2009. Tracing the history of goat pastoralism: new clues from mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA in North Africa. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26, 27652773.
Primo, AT 2004. América: conquista e colonização. Movimento, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Pritchard, JK, Stephens, M and Donnelly, P 2000. Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics 155, 945959.
Raymond, M and Rousset, F 1995. GENEPOP (Version 1.2): population genetics software for exact test and ecumenicism. Journal of Heredity 86, 248249.
Ribeiro, MN, Bruno-de-Sousa, C, Martinez-Martinez, A, Ginja, C, Menezes, MP, Pimenta-Filho, EC, Delgado, JV and Gama, LT 2012. Drift across the Atlantic: genetic differentiation and population structure in Brazilian and Portuguese native goat breeds. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 129, 7987.
Rodero, A, Delgado, JV and Rodero, E 1992. Primitive Andalusian livestock and their implications in the discovery of America. Archivos de Zootecnia 41, 383400.
Rosenberg, NA 2004. DISTRUCT: a program for the graphical display of population structure. Molecular Ecology Notes 4, 137138.
Rosenberg, NA, Pritchard, JK, Weber, JL, Cann, HM, Kidd, KK, Zhivotovsky, LA and Feldman, MW 2002. Genetic structure of human populations. Science 298, 23812385.
Tapio, M, Ozerov, M, Tapio, I, Toro, MA, Marzanov, N, Cinkulov, M, Goncharenko, G, Kiselyova, T, Murawski, M and Kantanen, J 2010. Microsatellite-based genetic diversity and population structure of domestic sheep in northern Eurasia. BMC Genetics 10, 1176.
Walsh, PS, Metzger, DA and Higushi, R 1991. Chelex 100 as a medium for simple extraction of DNA for PCR-based typing from forensic material. Biotechniques 10, 506513.
Wang, J 2003. Maximum-likelihood estimation of admixture proportions from genetic data. Genetics 164, 747765.
Wei, C, Lu, J, Xu, L, Liu, G, Wang, Z, Zhao, F, Zhang, L, Han, X, Du, L and Liu, C 2014. Genetic structure of Chinese indigenous goats and the special geographical structure in the Southwest China as a geographic barrier driving the fragmentation of a large population. PLoS One 9, e94435.
Weir, BS and Cockerham, CC 1984. Estimating F-statistics for the analysis of population structure. Evolution 38, 1358.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Sevane et al. supplementary material
Sevane et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (2.2 MB)
2.2 MB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed