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Genetic evidence for the origin of the agrimi goat (Capra aegagrus cretica)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2002

Gila Kahila Bar-Gal
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, Frederick 21702-1201, MD, U.S.A.
Patricia Smith
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Bioanthropology and Ancient DNA, Department of Anatomy and Embryology, The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, P.O. Box 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel
Eitan Tchernov
Affiliation:
Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
Charles Greenblatt
Affiliation:
Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, P.O. Box 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel
Pierre Ducos
Affiliation:
Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
Armelle Gardeisen
Affiliation:
CNRS-UMR 154, CDAR, 390 Route de Perols, F-34 970, Lattes, France
Liora Kolska Horwitz
Affiliation:
Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
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Abstract

The agrimi goat Capra aegagrus cretica is unique to Crete and its offshore islands. It has been identified as a sub-species of the wild bezoar goat Capra aegagrus aegagrus Erxleben, 1777, which it closely resembles in horn shape, body form and coloration. This classification has been disputed by some researchers who claim that the agrimi are feral goats, derived from early domestic stock brought to the island by the first Neolithic settlers. In order to clarify this issue, DNA analyses (cytochrome b and D loop sequences) were carried out on tissue of live and skeletonized agrimi and compared to sequences of wild and domestic caprines. Results conclusively show the agrimi to be a feral animal, that clades with domestic goats (Capra hircus) rather than with wild Asiatic bezoar. This study demonstrates that morphometric criteria do not necessarily reflect genetic affinities, and that the taxonomic classification of agrimi should be revised.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2002 The Zoological Society of London

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