Biochemical genetics

Mitochondrial DNA-Based Analyses of Relatedness Among Turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo.

PMID 25820210


The domesticated turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, is believed to be a single breed with several varieties whose relatedness and origins remain poorly understood. Using the mitochondrial genome sequence (GenBank accession no. EF153719) that our group first reported, we investigated the relationships among 15 of the most widely occurring turkey varieties using D-loop and 16S RNA sequences. We included, as a non-traditional outgroup, mtDNA sequence information from wild turkey varieties. A total of 24 SNPs, including 18 in the D-loop and 6 in the 16S rRNA, was identified, validated and used. Of the 15 haplotypes detected based on these SNPs, 7 were unique to wild turkeys. Nucleotide diversity estimates were relatively low when compared to those reported for chickens and other livestock. Network and phylogenetic analyses showed a closer relationship among heritage varieties than between heritage and wild turkeys. The mtDNA data provide additional evidence that suggest a recent divergence of turkey varieties.