Background: Brazil holds the largest commercial cattle populations worldwide. Local cattle breeds can be classified according to their origin, as exotic or Creole. Exotic breeds imported in the last 100 years, both zebuine and taurine, currently make up the bulk of the intensively managed populations. Locally adapted Creole breeds, originated from cattle introduced by the European conquerors derive from natural selection and events of breed admixture. While historical knowledge exists on the Brazilian Creole breeds very little is known on their genetic composition. The objective of this study was to assess the levels of genetic diversity, phylogenetic relationships and patterns of taurine/zebuine admixture among ten cattle breeds raised in Brazil.
Brazil has various species of domestic animals, which developed from breeds brought by the Portuguese settlers soon after the discovery of the country. After being submitted to a long process of natural selection, these breeds present characteristics adapted to specific Brazilian environmental conditions, and are known as "criollo", "local" or naturalized breeds. From the beginning of the 20th century, some exotic breeds, selected in temperate regions, have begun to be imported, and, although more productive, they do not have adaptive traits, such as resistance to disease and parasites found in the naturalized breeds. Even so, they gradually replaced the native breeds, to such an extent that the latter are in danger of extinction. To avoid further loss of this important genetic material, in 1983 the National Research Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (Cenargen) of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) decided to include conservation of animal genetic resources among its priorities. The conservation activities have been conducted under the Brazilian Genetic Resources Network -Renargen, and is carried out by various research centres of Embrapa, universities and State research institutions, as well as by private farmers, with a single coordinator at national level, Cenargen. The in situ conservation of cattle, horses, buffaloes, donkeys, goats, sheep and pigs is being carried out by Conservation Nuclei, located in the animal's original habitat. Ex situ conservation is centred at the Brazilian Animal Germplasm Bank (AGB), kept at Cenargen. This is responsible for the storage of semen and embryos of various breeds of domestic animals threatened with extinction. Presently the AGB has almost 60,000 doses of semen and more than 250 embryos, as well as over 7000 DNA samples. An important challenge for this program is to increase awareness within the different segments of society in terms of the importance of the conservation of animal genetic resources. The development and evolution of Renargen and its efforts to facilitate the conservation of genetic resources of livestock in Brazil are described in this paper.
Resumo -O objetivo deste trabalho foi avaliar medidas corporais associadas à tolerância ao calor em bovinos. Utilizaram-se 64 animais das raças naturalizadas Curraleiro (15), Mocho Nacional (7), Crioulo Lageano (7), Pantaneira (14) e Junqueira (11), e 26 animais de duas raças comerciais: Nelore (15) e Holandesa (11). Foram analisados dados sobre comprimento corporal, perímetro de canela, altura de cernelha, perímetro torácico, espessura da pele, espessura do pêlo, número de pêlos, comprimento de pêlos, pigmentação da epiderme e pelame. A raça Curraleiro apresentou menor perímetro torácico, tendo diferido das outras raças, principalmente da Mocho Nacional. As raças Crioulo Lageano e Pantaneira apresentaram maior espessura de pêlo; a raça Mocho Nacional apresentou maior espessura de pele. Os resultados obtidos demonstram que as raças Curraleiro e Junqueira são mais tolerantes ao calor que as demais raças naturalizadas.Termos para indexação: adaptação, bioclimatologia, medidas corporais, tolerância ao calor. Body traits associated with heat adaptation in naturalized Brazilian cattle breedsAbstract -The aim of this work was to evaluate physical aspects of heat tolerance in cattle. Sixty-four animals from five naturalized breeds were used, including Curraleiro (15 animals), Mocho Nacional (7), Crioulo Lageano (17), Pantaneira (14) and Junqueira (11), as well as twenty-six animals from two commercial breeds: Nellore (15) and Holstein (11). Measurements on shoulder height, girth, body length, cannon bone circumference, skin and hair thickness were analysed as well as hair density and hair and skin pigmentation. Girth in Curraleiro was significantly smaller than in other breeds, especially Mocho Nacional. Crioulo Lageano and Pantaneira had the thickest hair and Mocho Nacional the thickest skin. Curraleiro and Junqueira were shown to be the most heat tolerant of the naturalized breeds.
-The objectives of this work were to investigate the genetic structure of the Brazilian hair sheep breeds and to determine the origin of the Santa Inês breed. Molecular similarity was determined using Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA -Polymerase Chain Reaction markers in 238 individuals from five naturalized sheep breeds: Santa Inês (48 animals), Rabo Largo (48), Somali (48), Morada Nova (48) and Bergamasca (46), collected in Goiás, Sergipe, Bahia, and Ceará States as well as in the Federal District. Fifty-four loci were selected from 19 primers, after a pilot test using 140 primers. Qualitative analyses indicate diagnostic markers for all breeds. All breeds were significantly different from each other. Interbreed differences were explained by 14.92% of the total variation. Santa Inês clustered with Bergamasca (97% bootstrap) and with Rabo Largo, composing the third member of the group (81% bootstrap) while Morada Nova and Somali breeds clustered separately. Each breed should be considered as a separate management and conservation unit, and special care should be taken with Rabo Largo, Morada Nova and Somali breeds, represented by small herds in Brazil.
Brazil has various species of domestic animals, which developed from breeds brought by the Portuguese settlers soon after their discovery. For five centuries, these breeds have been subjected to natural selection in specific environments. Today, they present characteristics adapted to the specific Brazilian environmental conditions. These breeds developed in Brazil are known as "Crioulo," "local," or naturalized. From the beginning of the 20th century, some exotic breeds, selected in temperate regions, have begun to be imported. Although more productive, these breeds do not have adaptive traits, such as resistance to disease and parasites found in breeds considered to be "native." Even so, little by little, they replaced the native breeds, to such an extent that the latter are in danger of extinction. In 1983, to avoid the loss of this important genetic material, the National Research Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (Cenargen) of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) decided to include conservation of animal genetic resources in its research program Conservation and Utilization of Genetic Resources. Until this time, they were only concerned with conservation of native plants. Conservation has been carried out by various research centers of Embrapa, universities, state research corporations, and private farmers, with a single coordinator at the national level, Cenargen. Specifically, conservation is being carried out by conservation nuclei, which are specific herds in which the animals are being conserved, situated in the habitats where the animals have been subjected to natural selection. This involves storage of semen and embryos from cattle, horses, buffaloes, donkeys, goats, sheep, and pigs. The Brazilian Animal Germplasm Bank is kept at Cenargen, which is responsible for the storage of semen and embryos of various breeds of domestic animals threatened with extinction, where almost 45,000 doses of semen and more than 200 embryos exist presently. An important challenge for this program is to make the different segments of society realize the importance of the conservation of animal genetic resources.
-Conservation and improvement strategies should be based on the association between genetic and phenotypic characteristics. The objective of this work was to characterize five native Brazilian cattle breeds (Caracu, Crioulo Lageano, Curraleiro, National Polled and Pantaneiro) and two commercial breeds (Holstein and Nellore) using RAPD technique to estimate genetic distances and variability between and within breeds. Genetic relationships were investigated using 22 primers which generated 122 polymorphic bands. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that most of the genetic variation lay among individuals within populations. The genetic variabilities between pairs of breeds were statistically significant. The smallest genetic divergence was between Crioulo Lageano and Curraleiro. The National Polled, although historically considered to be of Bos taurus aquitanicus origin, similar to the Caracu, was grouped together with the other breeds of Bos taurus ibericus origin. Generally, the individual breeds formed distinct clusters except the National Polled. The RAPD technique was capable to distinguish genetically between the breeds studied; the Caracu, Crioulo Lageano, Curraleiro and Pantaneiro may be considered distinct genetic entities thereby proving the uniqueness of the populations; the National Polled has not been able to re-establish itself after its decline in the 1950s, thereby losing its genetic identity.Index terms: animal conservation, cattle, genetic characterization, RAPD. Diversidade genética e estrutura de população de bovinos nativosResumo -Estratégias para conservação e melhoramento animal devem ser baseadas na associação de características fenotípicas e genéticas. O objetivo deste trabalho foi caracterizar cinco raças nativas brasileiras (Caracu, Crioulo Lageano, Curraleiro, Mocho Nacional e Pantaneiro) e duas comerciais (Holandês e Nelore) pela técnica de RAPD para estimar a distância genética e a variabilidade genética entre e dentro das raças. As relações genéticas foram investigadas utilizando-se 22 primers, que geraram 122 bandas polimórficas. A análise de variância molecular revelou que a maior parte da variabilidade genética total ocorreu em virtude das diferenças de indiví-duos dentro das populações. Na comparação da variabilidade genética entre os pares de raças, observou-se que todos os valores obtidos foram estatisticamente significativos. A menor divergência genética foi observada entre Crioulo Lageano e Curraleiro. A raça Mocho Nacional, apesar de historicamente ser considerada de origem Bos taurus aquitanicus, mesma origem da raça Caracu, agrupou-se com as demais raças nativas consideradas de origem Bos taurus ibericus. De modo geral, as raças estudadas se agruparam em clusters distintos, com exceção da Mocho Nacional. A técnica de RAPD foi capaz de distinguir geneticamente as raças estudadas; Caracu, Crioulo Lageano, Curraleiro e Pantaneiro podem ser consideradas entidades genéticas distintas, comprovando assim, a unicidade de suas populações; a Mocho Nacional não conseguiu...
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