Historical Demographic Profiles and Genetic Variation among the only African Indigenous Dairy Zebu Types: The Butana and Kenana of Sudan

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Salim, Bashir
Taha, Khalid M
Hanotte, Olivier
Mwacharo, Joram M.
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Butana and Kenana cattle are part of the East African Zebu (Bos indicus) breed of cattle in the Sudan. Unlike other indigenous Zebu cattle in Africa, they are unique due to their reputation for high milk production and are, thus, regarded as dairy cattle, the only ones of their kind in the African continent. In this study, the complete mtDNA D-loop was sequenced in 70 individuals to understand the maternal genetic variations and demographic profile and history of the two types. The study showed that the two types have very high mtDNA diversity. A Bayesian coalescent-based analysis revealed that the two types have different historical and demographic profiles that support the initial population expansion of the Butana type compared with the Kenana and that the types may have been independently developed prior to their introduction in the continent, with the arrival of the Butana type preceding that of Kenana. The analysis further revealed that the Butana type has experienced a decline in its effective population size (Ne) in the past 590 years. There is a need to design appropriate breeding strategies for effective management of these two types with the potential of improving milk production in marginal areas where they are best adapted.
Bayesian Skyline Plots; effective population size; mitochondrial DNA