Cattle play a very important role in agriculture and food security in Vietnam. A high level of cattle diversity exists and serves different needs of Vietnamese cattle keepers but has not yet been molecularly characterized. This study evaluates the genetic diversity and structure of Vietnamese indigenous cattle populations, using microsatellite markers. A total of 410 individuals from six indigenous cattle populations and an exotic breed was characterized using 27 microsatellite markers A total of 362 alleles was detected and the number of alleles per locus ranged from 8 (INRA005 and ILSTS005) to 17 (ETH185). The level of gene diversity was high indicated by a mean expected heterozygosity (He) across populations and loci of 0.73. Level of inbreeding (mean FIS=0.05) and genetic differentiation (mean FST=0.04) was moderate. The phylogenetic tree based on Reynolds genetic distance reflected geographic distances. Structure analysis indicated five homogeneous clusters. The Brahman, Lang Son, Ha Giang and U Dau Riu cattle were assigned to independent clusters while Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Phu Yen cattle were grouped in a single cluster. We conclude that Vietnamese indigenous cattle have high levels of genetic diversity and distinct genetic structures. Based on these results, we recommend that for conservation homogenous populations (Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Phu Yen) can be grouped to reduce costs and U Dau Riu, Lang Son and Ha Giang populations should be conserved separately to avoid loss of genetic diversity.
Livestock Science, 2013, Vol 155, Issue 1, p. 17-22