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Genetic diversity and differentiation of exotic and American commercial cattle breeds raised in Brazil

Author(s): B.S.A.F. Brasil1,2,3*, E.G.A. Coelho1*, M.G. Drummond1,2 and D.A.A. Oliveira1

The Brazilian cattle population is mainly composed of breeds of zebuine origin and their American derivatives. Comprehensive knowledge about the genetic diversity of these populations is fundamental for animal breeding programs and the conservation of genetic resources. This study aimed to assess the phylogenetic relationships, levels of genetic diversity, and patterns of taurine/zebuine admixture among 9 commercial cattle breeds raised in Brazil. Analysis of DNA polymorphisms was performed on 2965 animals using the 11 microsatellite markers recommended by the International Society of Animal Genetics. High genetic diversity was detected in all breeds, even though significant inbreeding was observed within some. Differences among the breeds accounted for 14.72% of the total genetic variability, and genetic differentiation was higher among taurine than among zebuine cattle. Of note, Nelore cattle presented with high levels of admixture, which is consistent with the history of frequent gene flow during the establishment of this breed in Brazil. Furthermore, significantgenetic variability was partitioned within the commercial cattle breeds formed in America, which, therefore, comprise important resources of genetic diversity in the tropics. The genetic characterization of theseimportant Brazilian breeds may now facilitate the development of management and breeding programs for these populations.