Genetic diversity and population structure of indigenous chicken in Rwanda using microsatellite markers.
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Rwanda has about 4.5 million of indigenous chicken (IC) that are very low in productivity. To initiate any genetic improvement programme, IC needs to be accurately characterized. The key purpose of this study was to ascertain the genetic diversity of IC in Rwanda using micro-satellite markers. Blood samples of IC sampled from 5 agro-ecological zones were collected from which DNA was extracted, amplified by PCR and genotyped using 28 microsatellite markers. A total of 325 (313 indigenous and 12 exotic) chickens were genotyped and revealed a total number of 305 alleles varying between 2 and 22 with a mean of 10.89 per locus. One hundred eighty-six (186) distinct alleles and 60 private alleles were also observed. The frequency of private alleles was highest in samples from the Eastern region, whereas those from the North West had the lowest. The influx of genes was lower in the Eastern agro-ecological zone than the North West. The mean observed heterozygosity was 0.6155, whereas the average expected heterozygosity was 0.688. The overall inbreeding coefficient among the population was 0.040. Divergence from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was significant (p<0.05) in 90% of loci in all the populations. The analysis of molecular variance revealed that about 92% of the total variation originated from variation within populations. Additionally, the study demonstrated that IC in Rwanda could be clustered into four gene groups. In conclusion, there was considerable genetic diversity in IC in Rwanda, which represents a crucial genetic resource that can be conserved or optimized through genetic improvement.
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