Assessing the occurrence of hybridisation in endangered indigenous sheep L. Sandenbergh1#, S.W.P. Cloete1,2 & J.J. Olivier1 1 Directorate Animal Sciences: Elsenburg, Private Bag X1, Elsenburg, 7607, South Africa 2 Department of Animal Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa # Corresponding author: LiseS@elsenburg.com Indiscriminate crossbreeding contributes to the loss of unique local genetic resources and the extinction of indigenous livestock species. The Namaqua Afrikaner (NAM), an indigenous fat-tailed sheep, has come under threat of extinction and is now mainly found in conservation flocks in its home country of South Africa. We surveyed three research or resource flocks described as purebred NAM to ascertain whether crossbred individuals were present in these flocks. Samples from the three locations underwent 50K SNP chip genotyping and results were compared with samples of known genetic heritage from ten important commercial and indigenous South African sheep breeds, including NAM. Results from principal component analysis, and FST and genetic distance calculations indicated individuals from the first two sampling locations were genetically similar to known NAM samples. Samples from the third location did not exhibit a distinct genetic similarity to NAM or any of the other breeds tested. This group may be the result of several generations of crossbreeding between indigenous and commercial breeds, such as the Meatmaster, with largely similar appearance. Continued conservation efforts of the NAM will need to safeguard against indiscriminate crossbreeding and the unintentional introduction of foreign genetics. Keywords: Namaqua Afrikaner, crossbreeding, SNP chip, conservation

Lise Sandenbergh, Schalk Cloete, Buks Olivier

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Challenges - Species Conservation, , 725, 2018
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