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Basque thesis investigates wide diversity within certain ovine, bovine and equine breeds
Date:3/1/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

Fernando Rendo, biologist at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), has developed genetic-molecular tools, with the intention of completing the genealogical tree of certain ovine, bovine and equine breeds in the Basque Country Autonomous Community (CAPVEAE) and Navarre. Concretely, he opted for numerous microsatellites (a type of DNA sequence) and certain SNPs (a kind of variation in the DNA sequence) that can act as biomarkers for characterising genetic structures. With these he constructed panels that were applied to various sheep breeds (Latxa, Carranzana, Sasi Ardi and Navarra), cattle breeds (Pyrenean, Betizu, Terrea and Monchina) and equine breeds (Pottoka, Jaca Navarra, EuskalHerriko Mendi Zaldia and Burguete).

With these panels as a base tool, Mr Rendo undertook his doctoral thesis, analysing the genetic population of these local breeds. Moreover, he was particularly interested in breeds in danger of extinction, which is why he studied the efficacy of some of the conservation plans carried out to date, and has put forward proposals for future programmes. The work is entitled Genetic and forensic populations in ovine, bovine and equine breeds in the Basque Country Autonomous Community and Navarre.

Great variety

Mr Rendo emphasised the great intrapopulational genetic variability found amongst these breeds under study. An example of this is the heterogeneity shown by the Latxa sheep breed given that, in the thesis, three populational groups were identified: Latxa Cara Negra of the CAPVEAE, Latxa Cara Rubia and Latxa Cara Negra of Navarre. The great diversity within the ovine, bovine and equine breeds studied is due to the handling used in the western Pyrenean zone. This handling is based on crossing animals from flocks that are close to each other, thus gene
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