Assessment of genetic diversity and differentiation of two major camel ecotypes (Camelus dromedarius) in Sudan using microsatellite markers
Abstract. Although Sudan has the second largest camel population in Africa, it has not yet been genetically differentiated. The present study was undertaken to evaluate, for the first time, the genetic diversity and relationship of two major camel ecotypes representing the eastern (Butana) and western (Darfur) regions of Sudan using 12 microsatellite markers. A total of 107 samples of study ecotypes were investigated displaying high mean values of genetic diversity (mean number of alleles: 11.5 ± 1.45; polymorphism information content: 0.67 ± 0.04; observed heterozygosity: 0.69 ± 0.05; expected heterozygosity: 0.72 ± 0.04). The global inbreeding coefficient (FIT = 0.041 ± 0.03, P > 0.05) was attributed to substantial and non-significant within-population inbreeding (FIS = 0.034 ± 0.03) and scarce but highly significant differentiation between ecotypes (FST = 0.008 ± 0.00; P < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis indicated a historical intermixing between different genealogical lineages making up the current admixed gene pool of the geographically divergent ecotypes. Consistent with this, STRUCTURE cluster analysis showed these ecotypes to be one mosaic admixed population. The results showed abundant genetic diversity within Sudanese dromedaries. Our study indicates that the two Sudanese camel ecotypes (Butana and Darfur) appear as an admixture of two geographical branches and do not support the contemporary division of Sudanese dromedaries into their respective socio-ethno-geography.