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Doctoral thesis, 2017

Genetic diversity of domestic sheep

Rochus, Christina


Domestic sheep are raised for meat, milk and fibre production and are found all around the world in many types of environments. Sheep have been shown to be genetically diverse but this genetic diversity has not been fully described: there are still many sheep populations which have not yet been studied. The purpose of this thesis was to study genetic diversity in Swedish and French sheep breeds using high density marker arrays. Additional methods, including genotyping of microsatellite markers, and endogenous retroviruses and pedigree information were used to study Swedish sheep populations. Inbreeding and heterozygosity estimated in Gute sheep using the pedigree of the entire registered Swedish population and additionally microsatellite genotypes and pedigree from a sample of the population (N=94) indicated a breeding program with the purpose of reducing inbreeding. Studying genetic relationships among breeds by genotyping endogenous retroviruses indicated Klövsjö, Värmland, Finewool, Gute and Roslag sheep breeds had characteristics of primitive breeds (absence of retroviruses or presence of the specific retrovirus event enJSRV-7) although Finewool, Gute and Roslag sheep breeds had moderate frequencies of enJSRV-18 which is indicative of more modern sheep breeds. Studying variants in two coat colour genes, ASIP and MC1R, and their association with black coat colour revealed different selection histories in five Swedish sheep breeds studied. Studying the population structure of Dalapäls, Fjällnäs, Gotland, Gute and Klövsjö sheep, using high density SNP genotyping revealed that these breeds are genetically distinct breeds. When comparing with other European breeds and south west Asian breeds, they grouped with other north European short-tailed sheep breeds and they had generally accumulated more drift than breeds from other geographical areas. Studying 27 French breeds with high density genotypes revealed that French sheep populations harbour much of European sheep diversity in a small geographic area. Selective sweeps identified: selection hotspots, selection targets in many species; introgression of an adaptive allele; and allelic heterogeneity, which was confirmed with targeted resequencing of a coat colour gene, MC1R, in breeds under selection.


sheep, genetic diversity, population structure, allelic heterogeneity, signatures of selection, coat colour, ASIP, MC1R, endogenous Jaagiekte retroviruses, får, genetisk mångfald, populationsstruktur, allelisk heterogenitet, spår av selektion, pälsfärg, endogena Jaagiekte retrovirus, mouton, diversité génétique, structure de la population, hétérogénéité allélique, signatures de sélection, couleur de la toison, rétrovirus endogènes Jaagiekte

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:52
ISBN: 978-91-576-8877-4, eISBN: 978-91-576-8878-1
Publisher: Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding

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