Genetic diversity of Guernsey population using pedigree data and gene-dropping simulations.

Melka, M.G., Sargolzaei, M., Miglior, F., and Schenkel, F.S. (2013). "Genetic diversity of Guernsey population using pedigree data and gene-dropping simulations.", Animal, 7(2), pp. 192-201. doi : 10.1017/s1751731112001723  Access to full text


The objectives of this study were to analyze the trend of within-breed genetic diversity and identify major causes leading to loss of genetic diversity in Guernsey breed in three countries. Pedigree files of Canadian (GCN), South African (GSA) and American (GUS) Guernsey populations containing 130 927, 18 593 and 1 851 624 records, respectively, were analyzed. Several parameters derived from the in-depth pedigree analyses were used to measure trends and current levels of genetic diversity. Pedigree completeness index of GCN, GSA and GUS populations, in the most recent year (2007), was 97%, 74% and 79%, respectively, considering four generations back in the analysis. The rate of inbreeding in each population was 0.19%, 0.16% and 0.17% between 2002 and 2007, respectively. For the same period, the estimated effective population size for GCN, GSA and GUS was 46, 57 and 46, respectively. The estimated percentage of genetic diversity lost within each population over the last four decades was 8%, 3% and 5%, respectively. The relative proportion of genetic diversity lost due to random genetic drift in the three populations was 93%, 91% and 86%, respectively. In conclusion, the results suggested that GCN and GUS have lost more genetic diversity than GSA over the past four decades, and this loss is gaining momentum due to increasing rates of inbreeding. Therefore, strategies such as optimum contribution selection and migration of genetic material are advised to increase effective population size, particularly in GCN and GUS.

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