Y-specific microsatellites reveal an African subfamily in taurine (Bos taurus) cattle

L. Pérez-Pardal, L. J. Royo, A. Beja-Pereira, I. Curik, A. Traoré, I. Fernández, J. Sölkner, J. Alonso, I. Álvarez, R. Bozzi, S. Chen, F. A. Ponce De León, F. Goyache

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53 Scopus citations


Five cattle Y-specific microsatellites, totalling six loci, were selected from a set of 44 markers and genotyped on 608 Bos taurus males belonging to 45 cattle populations from Europe and Africa. A total of 38 haplotypes were identified. Haplogroups (Y1 and Y2) previously defined using single nucleotide polymorphisms did not share haplotypes. Nine of the 27 Y2-haplotypes were only present in African cattle. Network and correspondence analyses showed that this African-specific subfamily clustered separately from the main Y2-subfamily and the Y1 haplotypes. Within-breed genetic variability was generally low, with most breeds (78%) showing haplotypes belonging to a single haplogroup. amova analysis showed that partitioning of genetic variation among breeds can be mainly explained by their geographical and haplogroup assignment. Between-breed genetic variability summarized via Principal Component Analysis allowed the identification of three principal components explaining 94.2% of the available information. Projection of principal components on geographical maps illustrated that cattle populations located in mainland Europe, the three European Peninsulas and Mediterranean Africa presented similar genetic variation, whereas those breeds from Atlantic Europe and British Islands (mainly carrying Y1 haplotypes) and those from Sub-Saharan Africa (belonging to Y2-haplogroup) showed genetic variation of a different origin. Our study confirmed the existence of two large Y-chromosome lineages (Y1 and Y2) in taurine cattle. However, Y-specific microsatellites increased analytical resolution and allowed at least two different Y2-haplotypic subfamilies to be distinguished, one of them restricted to the African continent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Cattle
  • Domestication
  • Phylogeny
  • Y-chromosome
  • Y-specific markers


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