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Genetic and morphological characterisation of the Ankole Longhorn cattle in the African Great Lakes region

Deo B Ndumu123, Roswitha Baumung1*, Olivier Hanotte3, Maria Wurzinger1, Mwai A Okeyo3, Han Jianlin34, Harrison Kibogo3 and Johann Sölkner1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

2 Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Directorate of Animal Resources, P.O. Box 513, Entebbe, Uganda

3 International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), P.O. Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya

4 CAAS-ILRI Joint Laboratory on Livestock and Forage Genetic Resources, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing 100094, PR China

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Genetics Selection Evolution 2008, 40:467-490  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-40-5-467

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received:17 July 2007
Accepted:30 April 2008
Published:15 September 2008

© 2008 INRA, EDP Sciences


The study investigated the population structure, diversity and differentiation of almost all of the ecotypes representing the African Ankole Longhorn cattle breed on the basis of morphometric (shape and size), genotypic and spatial distance data. Twentyone morphometric measurements were used to describe the morphology of 439 individuals from 11 sub-populations located in five countries around the Great Lakes region of central and eastern Africa. Additionally, 472 individuals were genotyped using 15 DNA microsatellites. Femoral length, horn length, horn circumference, rump height, body length and fore-limb circumference showed the largest differences between regions. An overall FST index indicated that 2.7% of the total genetic variation was present among sub-populations. The least differentiation was observed between the two sub-populations of Mbarara south and Luwero in Uganda, while the highest level of differentiation was observed between the Mugamba in Burundi and Malagarasi in Tanzania. An estimated membership of four for the inferred clusters from a model-based Bayesian approach was obtained. Both analyses on distance-based and model-based methods consistently isolated the Mugamba sub-population in Burundi from the others.

Ankole Longhorn cattle; microsatellite; geometric morphometric; genetic distance; spatial distance


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