Morphometric and genetic variation in 8 breeds of Ethiopian camels (Camelus dromedarius)


Dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) are a domesticated and closely guarded economic staple of indigenous people located throughout Ethiopian territorial states. Seventeen morphometric variables were examined to determine intraspecific variation among 8 pastoralist- designated breeds of camels. Additionally, DNA sequences from mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene and genotyping of 6 nuclear microsatellite loci were examined to assess genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship of Ethiopian camels. Examination of 525 individuals revealed significant morphometric differentiation in Afar as compared with the remaining 7 breeds. Analysis of cytochrome-b sequences failed to recover monophyletic groups associated with pastoralist-recognized breeds. Analysis of 6 microsatellite loci from 104 individuals depicted no resolution of distinct genetic lineages in accordance to geographical or designated breeds. Overall, separation of 2 ecotypes based on the morphometric data was supported; however, genetic analysis of cytochrome-b and microsatellite data failed to support any unique genetic lineage or statistically significant population structure.


© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. cc-by-nc


Breeds, Camelus dromedarius, Morphometrics, Systematics


Legesse, Y.W., Dunn, C.D., Mauldin, M.R., Ordonez-Garza, N., Rowden, G.R., Gebre, Y.M., Kurtu, M.Y., Ali, S.M., Whibesilassie, W.D., Ballou, M., Tefera, M., Perry, G., & Bradley, R.D.. 2018. Morphometric and genetic variation in 8 breeds of Ethiopian camels (Camelus dromedarius). Journal of Animal Science, 96(12).