Whole-Genome Resequencing Reveals Selection Signatures of Abigar Cattle for Local Adaptation

Wondossen Ayalew, Xiaoyun Wu, Getinet Mekuriaw Tarekegn, Tesfaye Sisay Tessema, Rakan Naboulsi, Renaud Van Damme, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, Zewdu Edea, Solomon Enquahone, Ping Yan

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Over time, indigenous cattle breeds have developed disease resistance, heat tolerance, and adaptability to harsh environments. Deciphering the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptive traits is crucial for their improvement and sustainable utilization. For the first time, we performed whole-genome sequencing to unveil the genomic diversity, population structure, and selection signatures of Abigar cattle living in a tropical environment. The population structure analysis revealed that Abigar cattle exhibit high nucleotide diversity and heterozygosity, with low runs of homozygosity and linkage disequilibrium, suggesting a genetic landscape less constrained by inbreeding and enriched by diversity. Using nucleotide diversity (Pi) and population differentiation (FST) selection scan methods, we identified 83 shared genes that are likely associated with tropical adaption. The functional annotation analysis revealed that some of these genes are potentially linked to heat tolerance (HOXC13, DNAJC18, and RXFP2), immune response (IRAK3, MZB1, and STING1), and oxidative stress response (SLC23A1). Given the wider spreading impacts of climate change on cattle production, understanding the genetic mechanisms of adaptation of local breeds becomes crucial to better respond to climate and environmental changes. In this context, our finding establishes a foundation for further research into the mechanisms underpinning cattle adaptation to tropical environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3269
Issue number20
Early online date19 Oct 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 19 Oct 2023


  • Abigar cattle
  • adaptation
  • selection signature
  • thermotolerance
  • tropical environment


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