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Acta Theriologica

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 369–382 | Cite as

Genetic characterisation of a domestic dogCanis familiaris breed endemic to South African rural areas

  • Letitia M. Greyling
  • Paul J. Grobler
  • Herman F. Van der Bank
  • Antoinette Kotze
Article

Abstract

Allozyme electrophoresis (horizontal starch gel and PAGE) and histochemical staining techniques were used to study the genetic composition of an endemic southern African domestic dogCanis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758, the Africanis breed. Genetic differentiation was analysed at 21 protein-coding loci. The results were compared to those for three other populations/breeds: representatives of established Western breeds, crossbred dogs of Western descent from rural areas in South Africa, and indigenous Saluki dogs from the Middle East. Nine polymorphic loci were found (Ak-1,-2, Ck, Per, Hb, Po-A-1 to-3 andPo-Tf). Two unique alleles at theCk andPo-A-2 loci separated the Africanis breed from the other groups. There were also significant differences between Africanis and the other breeds in pair-wise comparisons of allelic frequencies at polymorphic loci. An assignment test, fixation index values, gene flow and genetic distance values indicated a closer genetic association between the Africanis and Saluki breeds than with dogs of Western origin. This finding supports archaeological evidence that the endemic Africanis breed was introduced from the Middle East into Africa thousands of years ago, and not through later western influences. The average heterozygosity ranged from 0.106–0.15, with least heterozygosity in the Africanis and most in the rural crossbred group. The percentage of polymorphic loci, the mean number of alleles per locus (biologically more significant than heterozygosity), and conformation of genotypes to Hardy-Weinberg proportions showed no evidence of recent loss of genetic diversity in Africanis. Genetic differentiation and support of archaeological evidence by genetics indicate that the endemic southern African domestic dog breed is unique.

Key words

Canis familiaris genetic differentiation endemic breed domestication Africanis allozyme 

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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Letitia M. Greyling
    • 1
  • Paul J. Grobler
    • 2
  • Herman F. Van der Bank
    • 1
  • Antoinette Kotze
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyRand Afrikaans UniversityJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Biodiversity, School of Molecular and Life SciencesUniversity of the NorthSovengaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Animal Improvement InstituteAgricultural Research CouncilIreneSouth Africa

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