Recent Perspectives on Genetic Characterization and Preservation of Local Sheep Breeds

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 16858

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratoire Peirene, 123, av. A. Thomas, University of Limoges, 87060 Limoges CEDEX, France
Interests: molecular biology; ecology; transcriptomics; genomics; conservation; sequencing; biodiversity

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Guest Editor
Direction provinciale d'agriculture d'Oujda, Morocco, Département de Productions et Biotechnologies Animales, Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat 10101, Morocco
Interests: Mediterranean sheep breeds; animal genetics; animal production and biotechnology; ruminant nutrition; cattle creeding

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The domestic sheep (Ovis aries) is the most important source of meat in many countries. Besides a few breeds largely developed for prolificacy or special use, including meat, milk and wool production, there are many local breeds well adapted to the ecological constraints of their environment. These breeds hold precious genetic resources that can be determinant in the face of global changes. Unfortunately, the present and future of many of these breeds are problematic, as production concerns are more often considered than resistance to local constraints.

It is important to (i) estimate the genetic diversity of these breeds, which conditions the further improvement in their characteristics and adaptation to the environment, and to (ii) describe their relationship with neighbouring breeds to highlight their specificity. These two aspects depend on the history of the lineages, comprising displacements of well-localized local breeds to other territories, and reproduction management by crossings between appropriate breeds. Thus, it is a challenge to decipher the events that led to c. 900 sheep breeds from a single population, domesticated in a region comprising Turkey and Iran, around 8000 years BC.

This Special Issue of Animals aims to collect recent research from specialists in the field on the genetics of local sheep breeds, in terms of original genotypes adapted to harsh environments, connections between populations, and possible selection to improve characteristics. 

Prof. Dr. Daniel Pierre Petit
Dr. Asmae Kandoussi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • sheep breed
  • network and phylogeny
  • maternal and paternal lineages
  • whole-genome approach
  • adaptation
  • conservation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1211 KiB  
Article
The Significance of a Multilocus Analysis for Assessing the Biodiversity of the Romanov Sheep Breed in a Comparative Aspect
by Nurbiy S. Marzanov, Davud A. Devrishov, Mikhail Y. Ozerov, Oleg P. Maluchenko, Saida N. Marzanova, Elena B. Shukurova, Elena A. Koreckaya, Juha Kantanen and Daniel Petit
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1320; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081320 - 12 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1447
Abstract
The Romanov breed was evaluated using immunological and genetic markers. The seven blood group systems were characterized with a greater accuracy than in previous works on sheep in the Russian Federation, and were compared to eight ruminant species. Unlike other breeds, Romanov sheep [...] Read more.
The Romanov breed was evaluated using immunological and genetic markers. The seven blood group systems were characterized with a greater accuracy than in previous works on sheep in the Russian Federation, and were compared to eight ruminant species. Unlike other breeds, Romanov sheep shows a higher frequency of HBA than HBB alleles. There are 3–4 genotypes at the transferrin locus whereas in other breeds 6–11 genotypes have been found. At the albumin locus, the majority of the identified genotypes were heterozygotes, unlike in the other breeds studied. In the prealbumin locus, the Romanov breed was the only one where all the genotypes were heterozygous. We speculate that polymorphism at two loci (BMP-15 and BMPR1B) could effect on the high ovulation rates of Romanov sheep. Based on different genetic markers, the prevalence of heterozygotes in the Romanov sheep could determine their higher viability. A cluster analysis showed the close proximity of 12 populations of the Romanov breed, as the breeding stock come from the Yaroslavl region. Full article
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11 pages, 1628 KiB  
Communication
Glycerol-Free Equilibration with the Addition of Glycerol Shortly before the Freezing Procedure: A Perspective Strategy for Cryopreservation of Wallachian Ram Sperm
by Anežka Málková, Filipp Georgijevič Savvulidi, Martin Ptáček, Karolína Machová, Martina Janošíková, Szabolcs Nagy and Luděk Stádník
Animals 2023, 13(7), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13071200 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1440
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of glycerol added in different phases of sperm equilibration on CASA and flow cytometry parameters of thawed ram spermatozoa. Sperm was collected from adult Wallachian rams. The freezing extender was glycerol-free ANDROMED® (Minitub GmbH, Tiefenbach, Germany) supplied [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of glycerol added in different phases of sperm equilibration on CASA and flow cytometry parameters of thawed ram spermatozoa. Sperm was collected from adult Wallachian rams. The freezing extender was glycerol-free ANDROMED® (Minitub GmbH, Tiefenbach, Germany) supplied by 6% exogenous glycerol at different stages of the cryopreservation process. The purpose of this study was to compare two strategies of glycerol addition for sperm cryopreservation. The first strategy included the use of a glycerol-free extender for the procedure of glycerol-free equilibration and chilling, with the glycerolation of the extender by 6% glycerol shortly before sperm slow freezing (GFA). The second strategy included the use of a freezing extender already glycerolated by 6% glycerol before the equilibration and chilling of sperm and following slow freezing (GA). Sperm samples were analyzed after equilibration (but before freezing) and after thawing (at T0, T1 h, and T2 h time points). iSperm® mCASA (Aidmics Biotechnology Co., LTD., Taipei, Taiwan) was used for the evaluation of sperm kinematics. Flow cytometry was used to measure sperm viability (plasma membrane/acrosome intactness) and mitochondrial membrane potential. The obtained results significantly demonstrated that the glycerol-free equilibration with the addition of glycerol shortly before freezing is a perspective strategy for cryopreservation of Wallachian ram sperm. Full article
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16 pages, 1374 KiB  
Article
Microsatellite Analysis Revealed Potential DNA Markers for Gestation Length and Sub-Population Diversity in Kari Sheep
by Muhammad Ibrahim, Sohail Ahmad, Israr Ud Din, Waqas Ahmad, Ijaz Ahmad, Sher Hayat Khan, Ihtesham Ul Haq, Jehan Zeb and Olivier Andre Sparagano
Animals 2022, 12(23), 3292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233292 - 25 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1665
Abstract
Kari sheep inhabiting the Chitral district of Pakistan show variation in gestation length. In this study, we have analyzed the genetic differences between the three subtypes of Kari sheep (based on variation in gestation length) using microsatellite markers. Kari sheep samples were collected [...] Read more.
Kari sheep inhabiting the Chitral district of Pakistan show variation in gestation length. In this study, we have analyzed the genetic differences between the three subtypes of Kari sheep (based on variation in gestation length) using microsatellite markers. Kari sheep samples were collected from their breeding tract and were characterized for gestation length and genetic diversity using microsatellite markers. A total of 78 Kari ewes were grouped into three categories based on gestation length (GL), i.e., Kari-S (with a shorter GL), Kari-M (with a medium GL), and Kari-L (with a longer GL). DNA from these samples was used to amplify 31 ovine-specific microsatellite loci through PCR. Of the total 78 Kari specimens, 24 were grouped in Kari-S (GL = 100.7 ± 1.8), 26 were from the Kari-M subtype (GL = 123.1 ± 1.0), and 28 were Kari-L (GL = 143.8 ± 1.5). Microsatellite analysis revealed an association of genotypes at two marker sites (MAF214 and ILSTS5) with variation in GL. A total of 158 alleles were detected across the 22 polymorphic loci with an average of 7.18 alleles per locus. Unique alleles were found in all three subtypes. The highest number of unique alleles was observed in Kari-L (15), followed by Kari-S (10) and Kari-M (8). The results indicated that Kari-S is a genetically distinct subtype (with higher genetic differentiation and distance) from Kari-M and Kari-L. The genetic uniqueness of Kari-S is important for further exploration of the genetic basis for shorter gestation length, and exploitation of their unique values. Full article
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14 pages, 1293 KiB  
Article
Shedding Light on the Origin of Egyptian Sheep Breeds by Evolutionary Comparison of Mitochondrial D-Loop
by Agnès Germot, Muhammad Gamal Khodary, Othman El-Mahdy Othman and Daniel Petit
Animals 2022, 12(20), 2738; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12202738 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
(1) Background: It has been recognized that the origin of fat-tailed sheep occurred within coarse wool breeds and that this character was introgressed several times into thin-tailed populations. However, no study has investigated this idea for Egyptian breeds using mtDNA analyses. (2) Methods: [...] Read more.
(1) Background: It has been recognized that the origin of fat-tailed sheep occurred within coarse wool breeds and that this character was introgressed several times into thin-tailed populations. However, no study has investigated this idea for Egyptian breeds using mtDNA analyses. (2) Methods: Using new sequences of the control region, we constructed a database of 467 sequences representing 37 breeds including fat- and thin-tailed ones with 80 Egyptian individuals belonging to six local breeds (Barki, Fallahi, Ossimi, Rahmani, Saidi, Sohagi). The phylogenetic tree obtained with the maximum likelihood method was submitted to the Newick Extra program to count the direct and indirect links between the individuals of each breed. (3) Results: Several Egyptian breeds were strongly connected to “primitive” thin-tailed breeds from Europe, indicating a clear genetic background of the “thin tail” breed type that supports the view of archeologists. In several cases, we suspected Western Asian breeds to be involved in the introgression of the fat tail character. In contrast, the Ossimi breed showed a high affinity to a fat-tailed breed of Western Asia, suggesting a direct migration and no thin tail ancestors. The Saidi is unique as our analyses revealed its strong connection with thin-tailed Sudanese breeds. Full article
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17 pages, 5354 KiB  
Article
Sheep in the Vineyard: Suitability of Different Breeds and Potential Breeding Objectives
by Lucas Conrad, Jakob Hörl, Maverick Henke, Rainer Luick and Nicolas Schoof
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192575 - 27 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2522
Abstract
Protecting a breed of sheep is simple when there is demand for its breed traits, but new market options are often hard to find. In general, grazing sheep are able to take over some viticultural work. Here, we address a new and promising [...] Read more.
Protecting a breed of sheep is simple when there is demand for its breed traits, but new market options are often hard to find. In general, grazing sheep are able to take over some viticultural work. Here, we address a new and promising integrated crop-livestock system that involves the integration of sheep in the vineyard during the growing season. Using sheep in a vineyard entails opportunities but also risks, such as the current lack of information, specifically in relation to breed traits. In our survey, we evaluated 26 breeds for their suitability for grazing as long as possible in Central European vineyards during the growing season. First, the breed traits required were identified. Then, 94 flock book breeders were interviewed about specific breed traits. The height of a sheep’s muzzle is particularly important for assessing the suitability of a breed, as it defines the potential impact on the foliage area during the growing season. To determine the height of the muzzle, 179 flock book animals were measured. We found that the most important breeding objective for a new breed of sheep is the inability to stand on two legs. Adult animals of the breed Shropshire, and among these especially the shorter-legged Danish type, and Southdown, show a widespread inability to stand on two legs. Ouessant sheep are able to do so, yet are suitable with some limitations. Due to their extraordinarily small size, their reach is limited, as is their grazing performance. Thus, three of the 26 breeds studied here seem suitable for use in the most widespread vine training systems of Central Europe during the growing season. Targeted breeding could further improve the suitability of sheep for viticulture. Our findings could help to protect breeds and breed traits. Full article
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16 pages, 4172 KiB  
Article
Native Sheep Breeds in Poland—Importance and Outcomes of Genetic Resources Protection Programmes
by Aldona Kawęcka, Marta Pasternak, Anna Miksza-Cybulska and Michał Puchała
Animals 2022, 12(12), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12121510 - 9 Jun 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4235
Abstract
The sheep population of native breeds, despite their unique features and the ability to adapt to harsh environmental conditions, has significantly decreased in recent years. Due to the low profitability of breeding, many local breeds of sheep in Poland were exposed to the [...] Read more.
The sheep population of native breeds, despite their unique features and the ability to adapt to harsh environmental conditions, has significantly decreased in recent years. Due to the low profitability of breeding, many local breeds of sheep in Poland were exposed to the risk of extinction. Many years of crisis in sheep farming have exacerbated this situation. The aim of this paper was to present the current situation of native sheep breeding in Poland, in terms of significance and effects of genetic resources protection programmes. The conservation of genetic resources of sheep aims to maintain and increase the population size while striving to maintain the greatest possible genetic variability. There are 17 native breeds included in the Polish sheep genetic resources conservation programme. A positive element of the implementation of the conservation of genetic resources programme for sheep is the accompanying measures which are based on the use of the non-productive role of the species. Extensive sheep grazing, as a form of nature conservation, serves to preserve valuable natural landscapes and the culture of local communities associated with sheep farming. Production and promotion of quality products, especially using niche markets and short production chains, are essential to ensure the economic viability of farms. These activities must be accompanied by raising public awareness of indigenous breeds and their alternative use in environmental activities, as well as their role in preserving the cultural heritage of local communities, for example through mountain grazing and the production of traditional products. Full article
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12 pages, 2229 KiB  
Article
SNP Genotyping Characterizes the Genome Composition of the New Baisary Fat-Tailed Sheep Breed
by Narzhan Zhumadillayev, Kairat Dossybayev, Aigerim Khamzina, Tilek Kapasuly, Zhangylsyn Khamzina and Nurlan Tlevlesov
Animals 2022, 12(11), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12111468 - 6 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2145
Abstract
Lamb meat has become increasingly popular in several nations during the last few decades, especially in Kazakhstan. Due to the rising demand for lamb meat, our sheep breeders developed a new fat-tailed sheep and named the breed Baisary. Animals of the Baisary breed [...] Read more.
Lamb meat has become increasingly popular in several nations during the last few decades, especially in Kazakhstan. Due to the rising demand for lamb meat, our sheep breeders developed a new fat-tailed sheep and named the breed Baisary. Animals of the Baisary breed are characterized by a large physique, strong constitution, stretched body, deep and wide chest, medium or large-sized fat tail, long legs (height at the withers of adult rams 85–100 cm, sheep 75–90 cm), long lanceolate ears and strong hooves. Lambs of the Baisary breed surpass their peers of the original parent breeds by 15–20% in live weight at the weaning period. To characterize the genetic structure of Baisary sheep and compare it with the ancestral breeds, we genotyped 247 individuals from five sheep breeds with Ovine SNP50K. The estimated private allelic richness ranged from 0.0030 to 0.0047, with the minimum and maximum provided by the Gissar (Giss1) and Kazakh meat-wool breeds, respectively. The highest and lowest FIS values, meanwhile, were observed in the Afghan fat-tailed population and Baisary sheep, respectively. The calculated inbreeding coefficient showed that Edilbay and Baisary sheep have excess heterozygosity. According to principal components analysis, Baisary are close to Gissar populations, the Afghan fat-tailed breed and Edilbay sheep. These results were consistent with the Admixture and phylogenetic analysis. Overall, our results indicated that Baisary sheep differ genetically from their progenitors. Full article
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