Deciphering the Patterns of Genetic Admixture and Diversity in the Ecuadorian Creole Chicken
Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo, Panamericana Sur Km 1 ½, EC060155, Riobamba, Ecuador
Centro Agropecuario Provincial de Córdoba, Diputación Provincial de Córdoba, 14071 Córdoba, Spain
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cordoba, 14071 Cordoba, Spain
Animal Breeding Consulting sl., C/. Astrónoma Cecilia Payne, ID-1, 8-PE, Rabanales 21, 14014 Cordoba, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 August 2019 / Revised: 4 September 2019 / Accepted: 6 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
In Ecuador, the production of Ecuadorian Creole chicken is of crucial importance in the economy and for the nutrition of families. These chickens represent a focal point in scientific research for three main reasons: (1) they are an unknown genetic resource derived from 500 years of environmental and human selection and represent an important reservoir of genetic variability and adaptability; (2) Ecuadorian Creole chicken production is normally familiar, in a marginal dimension, and it is an important source of economic input for medium–low income communities; and (3) being a local genetic resource, it is available to local communities without intermediary international enterprises and represents the starting point for food sovereignty. We aimed to measure the level of genetic diversity and its phylogenetic position compared with other outgroup breeds using information from microsatellite and mitochondrial markers. Our results showed that these chicken populations represent a great reservoir of genetic variability; however, the genetic fragmentation owing to the high geographical diversity of the country could compromise the conservation status and, therefore, the establishment of an official breeding program is needed for the conservation and valuation of these avian populations, with this genetic characterization being a first step.