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Keywords:

  • aurochs;
  • bovine;
  • fighting bull;
  • maternal lineage;
  • mitochondrial DNA

Summary

To clarify the genetic ancestry and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity of the Lidia cattle breed, a 521-bp D-loop fragment was sequenced in 527 animals belonging to 70 herds distributed across 29 lineages. The mtDNA diversity recorded was similar to that seen for Middle Eastern breeds and greater than that recorded for the majority of European breeds. Haplotype T3 was the most common (81%), followed by the African T1 haplotype (17%); very low frequencies were recorded for haplotypes T and T2. The results agree with there being two major ancestral lines for the Lidia breed, European and African, similar to that seen for other Mediterranean breeds. A wide range of variation in haplotype frequencies was seen between the examined lineages. Haplotype T3 was present in all those analysed; in five it was the only one present, and in only one lineage (Miura) was its frequency lower than that of T1. T1*, a haplotype reported in Criollo breeds and to date in only a single European breed (the Retinta breed from Spain), was found in a single animal belonging to the Concha y Sierra lineage. Network analysis of the Lidia breed revealed the presence of two major haplotypes: T3 and T1. The Lidia breed appears to be more closely related to prehistoric Iberian and Italian than to British aurochs.