Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen

Genetic diversity of the Eringer breed

The Eringer cattle breed is a local breed of Swiss origin. The goal objective of this study was to analyse the development of genetic diversity from 1993 to 2007 using pedigree information. In addition, 128 Eringer cows were genotyped for through the Illumina 50k Illumina beadchip method and, using this genome-wide marker information, the genetic diversity within the population was assessed. The current effective population size is estimated to be between 53 and 321. For all methods applied, the marker-based estimates were below 100, whereas the pedigree-based estimates were above 100. One possible reason for this difference is the degree of pedigree completeness: for animals born before 2001, the completeness over six generations of ancestors was found to be below 90%, whereas for all other animals the completeness was found at nearly 100%. In this study, strategies to maintain the genetic diversity of this unique cattle breed of Switzerland are presented and discussed.

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