Genetic diversity and population structure of African village dogs based on microsatellite and immunity-related molecular markers

Leona Vychodilova, Michaela Necesankova, Katerina Albrechtova, Jan Hlavac, David Modry, Eva Janova, Mirko Vyskocil, Andrei D. Mihalca, Lorna J. Kennedy, Petr Horin, Tzen-yuh Chiang (Editor)

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The village and street dogs represent a unique model of canine populations. In the absence of selective breeding and veterinary care, they are subject mostly to natural selection. Their analyses contribute to understanding general mechanisms governing the genetic diversity, evolution and adaptation. In this study, we analyzed the genetic diversity and population structure of African village dogs living in villages in three different geographical areas in Northern Kenya. Data obtained for neutral microsatellite molecular markers were compared with those computed for potentially non-neutral markers of candidate immunity-related genes. The neutral genetic diversity was similar to other comparable village dog populations studied so far. The overall genetic diversity in microsatellites was higher than the diversity of European pure breeds, but it was similar to the range of diversity observed in a group composed of many European breeds, indicating that the African population has maintained a large proportion of the genetic diversity of the canine species as a whole. Microsatellite marker diversity indicated that the entire population is subdivided into three genetically distinct, although closely related subpopulations. This genetical partitioning corresponded to their geographical separation and the observed gene flow well correlated with the communication patterns among the three localities. In contrast to neutral microsatellites, the genetic diversity in immunity-related candidate SNP markers was similar across all three subpopulations and to the European group. It seems that the genetic structure of this particular population of Kenyan village dogs is mostly determined by geographical and anthropogenic factors influencing the gene flow between various subpopulations rather than by biological factors, such as genetic contribution of original migrating populations and/or the pathogen-mediated selection. On the other hand, the study of oldest surviving dogs suggested a biological mechanism, i.e. a possible advantage of the overal heterozygosity marked by the the microsatellite loci analyzed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0199506
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018


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