The 'Bruna dels Pirineus' (Pyrenean brown breed): A genetic study of a rare cattle breed in Catalonia (Spain)

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    According to the 'Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' (FAO), animal genetic resources available throughout the world are in a dramatic state of decline. This results in the disappearance of a substantial number of local animal populations, and the consequent loss of their ability to adapt genetically to their local environments. A basic aim of conservation biology is to maintain genetic variability. This study characterizes and analyzes the genetic structure of a limited rare population, a local beef cattle breed from the Catalonian Pyrenees (Spain), Bruna dais Pirineus. Five hundred and forty-three individuals were analyzed for five polymorphic genetic loci. Animals were sorted according to two criteria: Region level (7 subpopulations) and Nucleus of Origin level (9 subpopulations). The genetic structures and relationships among these subpopulations are analyzed and principal migratory paths and rough estimates of inbreeding among the subpopulations are discussed. The migratory trend from the northwest (Pyrenean mountain areas) to the southeast (pre-Pyrenean areas) is confirmed. This breed exhibits genetic uniformity. The average genetic differentiation among subpopulations (Nucleus of Origin) was 1.6% (F(ST)=0.016; P<0.001). The effective number of individuals exchanged between subpopulations (Nuclei) per generation (gene flow) is estimated to be 12.1. We propose the animals from Pyrenean mountain areas to be the nucleus of conservation and maintenance of genetic variability for this breed. This information could be integrated into the FAO Global Data Bank on Domestic Animal Diversity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)485-498
    JournalBiochemical Systematics and Ecology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


    • Animal genetic resources
    • biochemical polymorphism
    • F- Statistics
    • gene flow
    • genetic distance
    • rare cattle breed


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