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Caractérisation génétique de la race de mouton Awassi du Liban en utilisant comme marqueurs des rétrovirus endogènes et l’ADN mitochondrial

Abstract : Livestock domestication represents a milestone in the history of mankind. Sheep was one of the first animals to be domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. These domestication events, probably initiated in the early Neolithic, have genetically built the contemporary races of the Middle East but also of the whole world. Sheep farming, mainly sheep of Awassi breed, represents an essential economic activity of Lebanon; however, so far, only very few genetic data exist on this breed. Nowadays, the molecular tools available allow us to define in details the genetic diversity of sheep populations and to trace their evolutionary history. Hence, the main objective of my PhD project was to genetically characterize the Awassi breed of Lebanon. For this study, 277 genomic DNA samples collected from Awassi sheep of Lebanon (n=254) and Syria (n=23) were analyzed. Initially, we used five endogenous retroviruses (endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus-enJSRV) that are insertionally polymorphic within the genomes of domestic sheep (enJSRV-18, -7, -15, -16 and -22) and have been previously shown to be very informative mainly to genetically distinguish between primitive sheep from more modern breeds (i.e. the latter originating from the migratory episode involving sheep with improved production traits). Using this approach, our results show a predominance of the R2 retrotype (enJSRV-18 only) confirming that the Awassi sheep of Lebanon is a modern breed. As expected, the R4 retrotype (both enJSRV-18 and enJSRV-7), a common feature of the sheep populations present within the Mediterranean area, is also found in the Awassi sheep of Lebanon and to more extend in those of Syria. Interesting, the populations of Awassi sheep located in the northeast of Lebanon and thus having a more restricted access to the Mediterranean Sea than the other populations (i.e. due to the central mountain chain cutting the country in two) present R4 weaklier. Even though the origin of the animals used to establish the herds analyzed during this study is unknown, our results also provide some evidences that the mode of rearing (open or closed) may influence the observed retrotypes and in particular R4. Surprisingly, during this study, we also unveiled the presence of so-called “Solo-LTR” (i.e. generated by homologous recombination) for another enJSRV (enJSRV-6) that are predominant in two herds of a particular region of Lebanon (Nabatieh). As a complementary approach, two mitochondrial markers were used, the cytochrome b (Cyt-b) and D-Loop, to investigate the maternal origin of this breed and its phylogenetic relationship within the Ovis aries family. In our study, the Cyt-b turns out to be more discriminative than the D-Loop. From the Awassi sheep analyzed, four haplogroups (HPGs) of the Middle-East were found with Cyt-b analysis: HPG A, B, C and E, the latter being the least frequent. Also, the super-sequence analysis, Cyt-b_D-Loop alignment, allowed the identification of HPG D, an extremely rare HPG, limited till now to fat-tailed sheep such as Awassi. Finally, a past population expansion is observed for the HPG A, B and C (but not for HPG E) with mismatch distributions and significant negative neutrality tests. Overall, the results obtained during this study provide a comprehensive genetic characterization as well as some insights into the phylogeographic structure of the sheep populations of the Awassi breed in Lebanon.
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Jeanne El Hage. Caractérisation génétique de la race de mouton Awassi du Liban en utilisant comme marqueurs des rétrovirus endogènes et l’ADN mitochondrial. Génétique animale. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PSLEP068⟩. ⟨tel-02107066⟩

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