High genetic divergence in miniature breeds of Japanese native chickens compared to Red Junglefowl, as revealed by microsatellite analysis


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Abstract

SummaryA wide diversity of domesticated chicken breeds exist due to artificial selection on the basis of human interests. Miniature variants (bantams) are eminently illustrative of the large changes from ancestral junglefowls. In this report, the genetic characterization of seven Japanese miniature chicken breeds and varieties, together with institute-kept Red Junglefowl, was conducted by means of typing 40 microsatellites located on 21 autosomes. We drew focus to genetic differentiation between the miniature chicken breeds and Red Junglefowl in particular. A total of 305 alleles were identified: 27 of these alleles (8.9%) were unique to the Red Junglefowl with high frequencies (>20%). Significantly high genetic differences (FST) were obtained between Red Junglefowl and all other breeds with a range of 0.3901–0.5128. Individual clustering (constructed from combinations of the proportion of shared alleles and the neighbour-joining method) indicated high genetic divergence among breeds including Red Junglefowl. There were also individual assignments on the basis of the Bayesian and distance-based approaches. The microsatellite differences in the miniature chicken breeds compared to the presumed wild ancestor reflected the phenotypic diversity among them, indicating that each of these miniature chicken breeds is a unique gene pool.

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