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Ćurković, M.; Ramljak, J.; Ivanković, S.; Mioč, B.; Ivanković, A.; Pavić, V.; Brka, M.; Veit-Kensch, C.; Medugorac, I. (2016): The genetic diversity and structure of 18 sheep breeds exposed to isolation and selection. In: Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Vol. 133, No. 1: pp. 71-80
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Abstract

The phylogenetic layout of the genotyped (30 microsatellite) 18 sheep breeds in this study demands and provides the opportunity to evaluate both neutral and adaptive components of genetic diversity in a naturally and artificially selected and subdivided sheep population. Seven Pramenka strains from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia characterized by a very low intensity of artificial selection, preserved the highest neutral genetic variability. Eight central and north-western European breeds under considerable artificial isolation and selection preserved the lowest genetic variability. Only combinations of various phylogenetic parameters offer a reasonable explanation for underlying evolutionary forces working in the investigated island and mainland sheep breeds under variable natural and artificial selection. More than 60% of total genetic, diversity was allocated to virtually unselected Pramenka strains, and an additional 25% to native moderately selected Graue Gehoernte Heidschnucke and intensively selected Ostfriesische Milchschafe. Some economically very important breeds and strains did not contribute to a pool with maximal genetic diversity, while they play an important role in the cultural heritage of respective countries.