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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Genome-wide insights of Ethiopian indigenous sheep populations reveal the population structure related to tail morphology and phylogeography

Amane, Agraw; Belay, Gurja; Nasser, Yao; Kyalo, Martina; Dessie, Tadelle; Kebede, Adebabay; Getachew, Tesfaye; Entfellner, Jean-Baka Domelevo; Edea, Zewdu; Hanotte, Olivier; Tarekegn, Getinet Mekuriaw


Background Ethiopian sheep living in different climatic zones and having contrasting morphologies are a most promising subject of molecular-genetic research. Elucidating their genetic diversity and genetic structure is critical for designing appropriate breeding and conservation strategies. Objective The study was aimed to investigate genome-wide genetic diversity and population structure of eight Ethiopian sheep populations. Methods A total of 115 blood samples were collected from four Ethiopian sheep populations that include Washera, Farta and Wollo (short fat-tailed) and Horro (long fat-tailed). DNA was extracted using Quick-DNA (TM) Miniprep plus kit. All DNA samples were genotyped using Ovine 50 K SNP BeadChip. To infer genetic relationships of Ethiopian sheep at national, continental and global levels, genotype data on four Ethiopian sheep (Adilo, Arsi-Bale, Menz and Black Head Somali) and sheep from east, north, and south Africa, Middle East and Asia were included in the study as reference. Results Mean genetic diversity of Ethiopian sheep populations ranged from 0.352 +/- 0.14 for Horro to 0.379 +/- 0.14 for Arsi-Bale sheep. Population structure and principal component analyses of the eight Ethiopian indigenous sheep revealed four distinct genetic cluster groups according to their tail phenotype and geographical distribution. The short fat-tailed sheep did not represent one genetic cluster group. Ethiopian fat-rump sheep share a common genetic background with the Kenyan fat-tailed sheep. Conclusion The results of the present study revealed the principal component and population structure follows a clear pattern of tail morphology and phylogeography. There is clear signature of admixture among the study Ethiopian sheep populations


Fat-tail; Genetic diversity; Ovine 50 K SNP; Population structure

Published in

Genes and Genomics
2020, volume: 42, number: 10, pages: 1169-1178
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Amane, Agraw
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Belay, Gurja
Addis Ababa University
Nasser, Yao
Biosci Eastern and Cent Africa Int Livestock Res In
Kyalo, Martina
Biosci Eastern and Cent Africa Int Livestock Res In
Dessie, Tadelle
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Kebede, Adebabay
Amhara Reg Agr Res Inst
Getachew, Tesfaye
Int Ctr Agr Res Dry Areas
Entfellner, Jean-Baka Domelevo
Biosci Eastern and Cent Africa Int Livestock Res In
Edea, Zewdu
Chungbuk National University
Hanotte, Olivier
University of Nottingham
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Bahir Dar University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

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