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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

A microsatellites-based survey on the genetic structure of two Italian local chicken breeds

Bianchi, Matteo; Ceccobelli, Simone; Landi, Vincenzo; Di Lorenzo, Piera; Lasagna, Emiliano; Ciocchetti, Martina; Şahin, Emine; Mugnai, Cecilia; Panella, Francesco; Sarti, Francesca Maria


The biodiversity safeguard is an important goal of poultry production in every developed country. Nowadays, the high chicken meat demand from the world market has been leading to a large spread of strongly producing commercial chicken lines. The creation of these standard types is causing a progressive loss of genetic variability. Ancona and Livorno are two Italian autochthonous chicken breeds which represent a great resource in terms of specific genetic richness. Aim of this study is to investigate the genetic diversity of these breeds as potential valuable genetic variability source. In fact, in spite of their endangered status, these chicken breeds are very appreciated for their ability to adapt themselves to extensive organic rearing systems. Blood samples from 131 individuals were collected and genotyped through a thirty microsatellites-based analysis. All the observed descriptive statistical indexes suggested a heterozygosity deficiency and an inbreeding level (mean observed heterozygosity = 0.46, mean expected heterozygosity = 0.53, F(is) in Ancona and Livorno = 0.251 and 0.086). The tree from inter-individual D(AS) distance using Neighbour-Joining algorithm and the FCA analysis showed a higher internal variability in Livorno than in Ancona. STRUCTURE analysis showed the genetic uniqueness of the breeds and the presence of sub-groups in Ancona originating from a possible genetic isolation. This research could be a suitable starting point to set up improved selection schemes and a potential preliminary genotypic test for all the cocks to be used in the selection.


Chicken; Microsatellites; Ancona; Livorno; Genetic diversity

Published in

Italian Journal of Animal Science
2011, volume: 10, number: 3, pages: 205-211

Authors' information

Bianchi, Matteo
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Ceccobelli, Simone
Landi, Vincenzo
Di Lorenzo, Piera
Lasagna, Emiliano
Ciocchetti, Martina
Şahin, Emine
Mugnai, Cecilia
Panella, Francesco
Sarti, Francesca Maria

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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