Authors: SAMIA KDIDI, MOHAMED HABIB YAHYAOUI, BELEN GARCÍA-MANRIQUE, PILAR SARTO, MOHSEN BEN SASSI, TOUHAMI KHORCHANI, JORGE HUGO CALVO
Abstract: This study aimed to investigate Y chromosomal haplotypes in the main Tunisian sheep breeds. For this purpose, we sequenced 2 regions of SRY (549-bp and 598-bp fragments) and 1 region in each of the AMELY and DBY genes in Barbarin, Western Thin Tail, Sicilo Sarde, and Black Thibar breeds. In addition, we analyzed the diversity at the SRYM18 microsatellite locus and detected 4 alleles of 139, 141, 143, and 145 bp. The sequencing analysis did not reveal any polymorphism in the AMELY or DBY regions; however, 2 samples carried the G allele in the 549-bp fragment of SRY. A total of 5 haplotypes, H4, H5, H6, H8, and H12, were found in the 4 breeds. The most common haplotype was H8 (55.5%), followed by H6 (34.5%), while other haplotypes were observed at low frequencies. H4 and H5 haplotypes were observed only in Western Thin Tail and Black Thibar breeds, respectively. In spite of the small area of Tunisia, a high Y chromosome diversity was observed. The results underlined the genetic relation of Tunisian sheep breeds with Middle Eastern, African, and European sheep breeds.
Keywords: Y chromosome, haplotype, Tunisian sheep breeds
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