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Data from: Genome-wide analysis highlights genetic dilution in Algerian sheep

Cite this dataset

Gaouar, Samir B.S. et al. (2016). Data from: Genome-wide analysis highlights genetic dilution in Algerian sheep [Dataset]. Dryad.


Algeria represents a reservoir of genetic diversity with local sheep breeds adapted to a large range of environments and showing specific features necessary to deal with harsh conditions. This remarkable diversity results from the traditional management of dryland by pastoralists over centuries. Most of these breeds are poorly productive, and the economic pressure leads farmers to realize anarchic cross-breeding (that is, not carried out in the framework of selection plans) with the hope to increase animal’s conformation. In this study, eight of the nine local Algerian sheep breeds (D’men, Hamra, Ouled-Djellal, Rembi, Sidaoun, Tazegzawt, Berber and Barbarine) were investigated for the first time by genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping. At an international scale, Algerian sheep occupied an original position shaped by relations with African and European (particularly Italian) breeds. The strong genetic proximity with Caribbean and Brazilian breeds confirmed that the genetic make-up of these American breeds was largely influenced by the Atlantic slave trade. At a national scale, an alarming genetic dilution of the Berber (a primitive breed) and the Rembi was observed, as a consequence of uncontrolled mating practices with Ouled-Djellal. A similar, though less pronounced, phenomenon was also detected for the Barbarine, another ancestral breed. Genetic originality appeared to be better preserved in Tazegzawt, Hamra, D’men and Sidaoun. These breeds should be given high priority in the establishment of conservation plans to halt their progressive loss. For Berber and Barbarine that also occur in the bordering neighbor countries, urgent concerted transnational actions are needed.

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