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Keywords:

  • Admixture;
  • breed assignment;
  • Casta Navarra;
  • fighting bull population;
  • genetic structure;
  • microsatellites;
  • subdivided populations

Summary

The Casta Navarra lineage was one of the populations used to establish the fighting bull (FB) breed, and it has also been reproductively isolated from the others FBs. A total of 1284 individuals from two generations of 16 Casta Navarra herds were sampled to analyse their diversity, their genetic structure and the ability of 28 microsatellite markers to assign individuals to closely related populations. These animals were compared with closely related phylogenetic (FB) or geographical (Pirenaica and Monchina) populations. Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium analysis showed that 82% of the loci had a significant heterozygote deficit as a consequence of the Wahlund effect. The average proportion of genetic variation explained by farm differences was 9% by Wright's FST index. A phylogenetic tree constructed with a neighbour-joining method based on Reynolds genetic distances and a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo clustering approach revealed clear differences between farm groups that generally corresponded to historical information and could unambiguously differentiate Casta Navarra cattle from the other populations. The percentage of animals correctly assigned to the Casta Navarra population was 91.78% for a q threshold of >0.9. Admixture was only detected in 4.45% (< 0.8) of the cattle. These results are relevant for the maintenance and development of diversity and conservation in the Casta Navarra population.