Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 11, Pages 1641-1659
Research Article

Genetic Diversity of Sheep Breeds from Albania, Greece, and Italy Assessed by Mitochondrial DNA and Nuclear Polymorphisms (SNPs)

1Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems, Tuscia University, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
2Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
3Istituto di Zootecnica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
4School of Biosciences, University of Wales, Cardiff CF10 3NS, UK

Received 12 April 2011; Revised 30 July 2011; Accepted 8 August 2011

Academic Editor: Dirk-Jan de Koning

Copyright © 2011 Lorraine Pariset et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We employed mtDNA and nuclear SNPs to investigate the genetic diversity of sheep breeds of three countries of the Mediterranean basin: Albania, Greece, and Italy. In total, 154 unique mtDNA haplotypes were detected by means of D-loop sequence analysis. The major nucleotide diversity was observed in Albania. We identified haplogroups, A, B, and C in Albanian and Greek samples, while Italian individuals clustered in groups A and B. In general, the data show a pattern reflecting old migrations that occurred in postneolithic and historical times. PCA analysis on SNP data differentiated breeds with good correspondence to geographical locations. This could reflect geographical isolation, selection operated by local sheep farmers, and different flock management and breed admixture that occurred in the last centuries.