Introduction: Eight microsatellite loci were used to define genetic diversity among five native water buffalo breeds in Pakistan.
Material and Methods: Blood samples (10 mL) from 25 buffaloes of each of the Nili, Ravi, Nili-Ravi, Kundhi, and Azi-Kheli breeds were collected aseptically from the jugular vein into 50 ml Falcon tubes containing 200 μl of 0.5 M EDTA. The phenol-chloroform method was used to extract DNA and the regions were amplified for microsatellite analysis. The eight microsatellite markers ETH10, INRA005, ILSTS029, ILSTS033, ILSTS049, ILSTS052, ETH225, and CSSM66 were analysed.
Results: The effective number of alleles across all loci was as usual lower than the observed values with a mean value of 2.52 alleles per locus. The overall allele frequency varied from 0.0041 for alleles B, I, and J over respective loci ILSTS052, INRA005, and ILSTS029 to 0.80 for allele H over locus ILSTS029. The average observed and expected heterozygosity values across all polymorphic loci in all studied buffalo breeds were 0.43 and 0.53, respectively. The overall value for polymorphic information content of considered microsatellite markers was 0.53, suggesting their appropriateness for genetic diversity analysis in buffalo. The mean Fis value was 0.13 and all loci except ILSTS049 were found significantly deviated from HWE, most likely due to non-random breeding. The five buffalo populations were genetically less diverse as indicated by a small mean Fst value (0.07). The average gene flow (Nm) indicative for population migration was calculated as 3.31. Nei’s original measures of genetic distance (Ds) revealed ancient divergence of the Nili and Azi-Kheli breeds (Ds = 0.1747) and recent divergence of the Nili and Ravi breeds (Ds = 0.0374).
Conclusion: These estimates of genetic diversity were seen to coincide with phenotypic differentiation among the studied buffalo breeds. The present study reports the first microsatellite marker-based genetic diversity analysis in Pakistani buffalo breeds, and might facilitate similar studies in other livestock breeds of Pakistan.
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