The present study is a first step of a global project aiming at the estimation of the genetic distances and relationships among buffalo breeds and sub-populations and the investigation of the production potential and adaptability of different buffalo genotypes in various environments.
Genetic diversity of Italian and Greek buffalo populations was estimated on the basis of allele frequencies at nine polymorphic microsatellite loci: CSSM43, CSSM38, DRB3, D21S4, CYP21, CSSM47, CSSM60, CSSM36 and CSSM33. The number of detected alleles per locus varied from two (D21S4) to thirteen (CSSM47). Allele frequency distribution was similar in the two populations, which have the same alleles at the highest frequency at all loci, except loci CSSM47 and CSSM60. Average gene diversity over all loci was 0.60. Across-loci average gene diversity increased with the number of alleles. Observed average heterozygosity was 0.167 and 0.177 in the Italian and Greek populations, respectively. The degree of differentiation between Italian and Greek buffalo was moderate and estimated at 0.021 ± 0.009.