Genetic diversity of Saudi native chicken breeds segregating for naked neck and frizzle genes using microsatellite markers

  • Fathi, Moataz (Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University) ;
  • El-Zarei, Mohamed (Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University) ;
  • Al-Homidan, Ibrahim (Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University) ;
  • Abou-Emera, Osama (Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University)
  • Received : 2018.01.10
  • Accepted : 2018.05.07
  • Published : 2018.12.01


Objective: Recently, there has been an increasing interest in conservation of native genetic resources of chicken on a worldwide basis. Most of the native chicken breeds are threatened by extinction or crossing with ecotypes. Methods: Six Saudi native chicken breeds including black naked neck, brown frizzled, black, black barred, brown and gray were used in the current study. The aim of the current study was to evaluate genetic diversity, relationship and population structure of Saudi native chicken breeds based on 20 microsatellite markers. Results: A total of 172 alleles were detected in Saudi native chicken breeds across all 20 microsatellite loci. The mean number of alleles per breed ranged from 4.35 in gray breed to 5.45 in normally feathered black with an average of 8.6 alleles. All breeds were characterized by a high degree of genetic diversity, with the lowest heterozygosity found in the brown breed (72%) and the greatest in the frizzled and black barred populations (78%). Higher estimate of expected heterozygosity (0.68) was found in both black breeds (normal and naked neck) compared to the other chicken populations. All studied breeds showed no inbreeding within breed (negative inbreeding coefficient [$F_{IS}$]). The phylogenetic relationships of chickens were examined using neighbor-joining trees constructed at the level of breeds and individual samples. The neighbor-joining tree constructed at breed level revealed three main clusters, with naked neck and gray breeds in one cluster, and brown and frizzled in the second cluster leaving black barred in a separate one. Conclusion: It could be concluded that the genetic information derived from the current study can be used as a guide for genetic improvement and conservation in further breeding programs. Our findings indicate that the Saudi native chicken populations have a rich genetic diversity and show a high polymorphism.


Supported by : Qassim University


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