Document Type: Original Article
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Aleppo, Syria
Sheep has been an essential source of food to the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau for centuries. Furthermore, this geographic area is considered the original place of sheep domestication. Phylogenetic studies are highly important in understanding the evolutionary relationships among species. This understanding assists in decision making and planning for genetic resources conservation programs. Analyzing sequences of mitochondrial genome regions provides more reliable evidence regarding the genetic diversity and evolutionary origin of the species, due to the high rate of mitochondrial genome evolution compared to the nucleus. The aim of this study was to use the sequence of mitochondrial control region to investigate the phylogenetic relationship and genetic distances between some domestic sheep breeds of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. For this purpose, blood samples were collected from Zel, Dalagh, and Mehrabani sheep breeds. After DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was carried out using specific primers for the targeted mitochondrial genome. Then, PCR products were purified and a standard sequencing was performed. Sequences obtained from this study were compared with other (NCBI) registered sequences of Middle Eastern breeds. Analysis of phylogenetic tree of the main haplotypes of sheep revealed that Zel breed was grouped in the haplotype B with other thin-tailed breeds, such as Karayaka and Sakiz. On the other hand, Mehrabani sheep breed was placed in the haplotype A along with other Middle Eastern fat-tailed breeds such as Naeimi and Saidi. This study provided additional proof for the use of control region sequence as a precise method of genetic distance estimation among sheep breeds.