• admixture;
  • Arabian cattle;
  • genetic diversity;
  • microsatellites;
  • population structure


Among all livestock species, cattle have a prominent status as they have contributed greatly to the economy, nutrition and culture from the beginning of farming societies until the present time. The origins and diversity of local cattle breeds have been widely assessed. However, there are still some regions for which very little of their local genetic resources is known. The present work aimed to estimate the genetic diversity and the origins of Omani cattle. Located in the south-eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, close to the Near East, East Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the Sultanate of Oman occupies a key position, which may enable understanding cattle dispersal around the Indian Ocean. To disclose the origin of this cattle population, we used a set of 11 polymorphic microsatellites and 113 samples representing the European, African and Indian ancestry to compare with cattle from Oman. This study found a very heterogenic population with a markedly Bos indicus ancestry and with some degree of admixture with Bos taurus of African and Near East origin.