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- Materials and methods
Conservation and improvement strategies in farm animals should be based on a combination of genetic and phenotypic characteristics. Genotype data from 30 microsatellites were used to assess the genetic diversity and relationships among five Cuban cattle breeds (Siboney de Cuba, Criollo Cubano, Cebú Cubano, Mambí de Cuba and Taíno de Cuba). All microsatellite markers were highly polymorphic in all the breeds. The expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.67 ± 0.02 in the Taíno de Cuba breed to 0.75 ± 0.02 in the Mambí de Cuba breed, and the observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.66 ± 0.03 in the Cebú Cubano breed to 0.73 ± 0.02 in the Siboney de Cuba breed. The genetic differentiation between the breeds was significant (p < 0.01) based on the infinitesimal model (FST). The exact test for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium within breeds showed a significant deviation in each breed (p < 0.0003) for one or more loci. The genetic distance and structure analysis showed that a significant amount of genetic variation is maintained in the local cattle population and that all breeds studied could be considered genetically distinct. The Siboney de Cuba and Mambí de Cuba breeds seem to be the most genetically related among the studied five breeds.