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Ćurković, M.; Ramljak, J.; Ivanković, S.; Mioč, B.; Ivanković, A.; Pavić, V.; Brka, M.; Veit-Kensch, C. and 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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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.

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