Phenotypic and genetic characterization of zebu cattle population of Mayotte Island : on path to breed recognition

Magnier Jessica, Ouvrard Mélissa, Raoul Solène, Janelle Jérôme, Mkadara Anlidine, Attoumani Hidachi, Saindou Oussoufi, Moussa Kamardine, Naves Michel, Gautier Mathieu, Flori Laurence, Tillard Emmanuel. 2019. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of zebu cattle population of Mayotte Island : on path to breed recognition. In : Dedicated to the origins of agriculture and the domestication, evolution and utilization of genetic resources. Abstracts book. IRD, Bioversity International, Agropolis International, CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, Université de Montpellier, INRA. Montpellier : IRD, Résumé, p. 74. Jack R. Harlan International Symposium. 3, Montpellier, France, 3 June 2019/7 June 2019.

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Abstract : In the context of global changes, preserving local livestock genetic resources is primordial to keep traits and alleles that will be important in the future. To characterize this population, we performed qualitative and quantitative phenotypic description of 400 cattle . We also explored genetic diversity by genotyping 150 individuals with the Illumina 54K SNP chip and by comparing these genotyping data to a panel of breeds belonging to the main groups of cattle populations (i.e. European taurine, African taurine, zebu and hybrid) available on Widde plateform (1,2,3). At last, we estimated recent inbreeding level(4). Using phenotypic data, we were able to define the descriptive profile of the population of Mayotte. Qualitative phenotypes were heterogenous with several patterns of fur, horns and humps. Regarding morphological traits, Zebu of Mayotte presented small size as exemplified by the mean withers height (i.e 106 cm). Exploratory genomic analyses of its genetic structure revealed that this population resulted from admixture between zebu (with an indicine proportion of 96%) and African taurine and was genetically close to Zebu of Madagascar. Both breeds harbored the highest indicine ascendance compared to other African cattle breeds. A weak European taurine ancestry (i.e. less than 5%) was detected in few individuals, indicating that this breed was still relatively well preserved from crossing with exotic (European taurine) cattle breeds. The estimation of recent inbreeding for this population indicates a favorable inbreeding situation for conservation perspectives of Mahorais Zebu. However, lack of control of artificial insemination and recent import of European cows could have an impact on cattle genetic diversity in Mayotte Island. This must be taken account in future conservation projects. A report of these results was presented to the French Ministry of Agriculture, and leaded to the official recognition of this breed.

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Magnier Jessica, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (FRA)
  • Ouvrard Mélissa, CoopADEM (MYT)
  • Raoul Solène, CoopADEM (MYT)
  • Janelle Jérôme, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (REU)
  • Mkadara Anlidine, CAPAM (MYT)
  • Attoumani Hidachi, CAPAM (MYT)
  • Saindou Oussoufi, CAPAM (MYT)
  • Moussa Kamardine, CAPAM (MYT)
  • Naves Michel, INRA (GLP)
  • Gautier Mathieu, INRA (FRA)
  • Flori Laurence
  • Tillard Emmanuel, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (REU)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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