Genetic Diversity of Cameroon Cattle and a Putative Genomic Map for Resistance to Bovine Tuberculosis

Rebecca Callaby*, Robert Kelly, Stella Mazeri, Franklyn Egbe, Lindert Benedictus, Emily Clark, Andrea Doeschl-Wilson, Barend Bronsvoort, Mazdak Salavati, Adrian Muwonge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis is a livestock disease of global economic and public health importance. There are currently no effective vaccines available for livestock and so control relies on animal level surveillance and pasteurization of dairy products. A new alternative control approach is to exploit the genetic variability of the host; recent studies have demonstrated that breeding European taurine cattle, such as Holsteins for increased resistance to bTB is feasible. The utility of such an approach is still unknown for African cattle populations. This study aims to assess genetic variation in bTB resistance and the underlying genomic architecture of cattle in Cameroon. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 2,346 slaughter cattle in Cameroon. Retropharyngeal lymph node samples were collected and cultured on Lowenstein Jensen media and the BACTEC MGIT 960 system, and M. bovis was identified using the Hain® Genotype kits. A total of 153 cattle were positive for M. bovis and were archived along with a random selection of negative samples. In this study, we genotyped archived samples from 212 cattle. Their genomic diversity was characterized using PCA, hierarchical clustering and admixture analysis. We assessed genetic variation in bTB resistance using heritability analysis and compared quantitative trait loci. Previous research on this study population have shown that Fulani cattle are more susceptible to bTB than mixed breeds. However, here we show that these apparent phenotypic differences in breeds are not reflected by clear genomic differences. At the genetic level, both the Fulani and mixed cattle show similar patterns of admixture with evidence of both taurine and indicine ancestry. There was little European taurine introgression within the studied population. Hierarchical clustering showed clusters of cattle that differed in their susceptibility to bTB. Our findings allude to bTB resistance being polygenic in nature. This study highlights the potential for genetic control of bTB in Africa and the need for further research into the genetics of bTB resistance within African cattle populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number550215
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPrint publication - 17 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • admixture
  • Bos indicus
  • bovine tuberculosis
  • Cameroon
  • susceptibility


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