Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




Many local breeds belonging to different livestock species such as cattle are in danger of extinction, since farmers prefer high-yielding breeds as well as intensive selection pressure. This fact leads to conduct suitable breeding and conservation programs in worldwide. Revealing genetic diversity is the first step for applying breeding and conservation programs. In this respect, this is the first comprehensive study aimed to review current genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships among native Turkish cattle breeds based on previous microsatellite marker studies. Compared to other local cattle breeds reared in different regions of the world, native Turkish cattle breeds hold a huge genetic diversity. On the other hand, the population size of native Turkish cattle breeds has been decreasing since 1991, and local breeds are crossed with exotic ones. It is thought that crossbreeding practices are leading to genetic erosion of native Turkish cattle breeds, while decreasing in population size will negatively affect genetic diversity in the future. Local cattle herds may be raised separately from exotic ones by smallholder farmers who are financially supported by the government. This kind of application may prevent genetic erosion and let the local herds to be raised in naturally adapted regions.

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