Genetic diversity and heterosis prediction of nine sheep populations
based on microsatellite markers
The objective of this study was to assess the genetic diversity and
population structure of nine sheep populations (four famous mutton
breeds worldwide, three popular mutton populations and two most famous
high prolific breeds in China) and predict the heterosis among these
populations based on microsatellite markers. Results showed the
relatively rich genetic diversity in Chinese sheep populations. The
results of UPGMA phylogenetic tree and Structure analysis indicated that
the nine investigated populations can be divided into two groups.
Suffolk and Dorset were clustered in one group, and the other group can
be further divided into three clusters: GMM-BAS-BAM, HUS-STH and
DOS-DOP. This is consistent with sheep breeding history. TreeMix
analysis also hinted the possible gene flow from GMM to SUF.
Additionally, based on the calculation of genetic distance, the optimal
cross combinations are recommended for two popular mutton sheep
populations (BAM and BAS) in the southern Mongolian Plateau and the most
famous high prolific breeds (Small Tail Han sheep and Hu sheep) in
China, respectively. Together, these results bring us an in-depth view
of genetic diversity within sheep population and the genetic
relationship among populations.