Tracing Worldwide Turkey Genetic Diversity Using D-loop Sequence Mitochondrial DNA Analysis
According to recent archeological evidence, turkey (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) domestication may have occurred in Mexico around 2000 years ago. However, little is known about the phylogenetic and genealogical background underlying domestic turkey populations. This study aimed to further understand the domestication process and identify inter- or intraspecific connections between turkey populations to determine their origins, trace their global expansion, and define the species’ genetic value. Ninety-three domestic turkeys (local breeds) were sampled from populations in Brazil, Mexico, USA, Spain, Italy, Iran, and Egypt. Publicly available sequences from previous studies were also included. Standard mitochondrial DNA, genetic diversity, and haplotype network analyses were performed. Seventy-six polymorphic sites were identified. Turkeys from Mexico showed the greatest number of polymorphic sites (40), while turkeys from Italy and Brazil reported only one site each. Nucleotide diversity was also highest in Mexico and the USA (π = 0.0175 and 0.0102, respectively) and lowest in Brazil and Italy. Of the six major haplogroups defined, the Mexican and USA populations appeared to have remained more stable and diverse than the other populations. This may be due to conservative husbandry policies in the rural areas of other populations, which have prevented the introduction of commercial turkey lines.