African Maternal Origin and Genetic Diversity of Chinese Domestic Donkeys

  • Lei, Chu-Zhao ;
  • Ge, Qing-Lan ;
  • Zhang, Hu-Cai ;
  • Liu, Ruo-Yu ;
  • Zhang, Wei ;
  • Jiang, Yong-Qing ;
  • Dang, Rui-Hua ;
  • Zheng, Hui-Ling ;
  • Hou, Wen-Tong ;
  • Chen, Hong
  • Received : 2006.09.01
  • Accepted : 2006.11.27
  • Published : 2007.05.01


The origin of domestic donkeys in China has been controversial. To clarify the origin of Chinese domestic donkeys, we investigated the partial mitochondrial D-loop sequences of 126 samples from 12 native breeds. The results revealed two mitochondrial origins, lineage Somali and lineage Nubian of African wild ass detected in Chinese domestic donkeys. Lineage Somali was predominant in Chinese domestic donkey breeds. The pattern of genetic variation in ass mtDNA D-loop sequences indicated that the two lineages Somali and Nubian from China had undergone population expansion events. In a combined analysis of lineages Somali and Nubian between previously published sequences from other countries/regions and sequences of Chinese domestic donkeys, the results indicated that the two lineages of Chinese domestic donkeys were from Africa and supported the African maternal origins of Chinese domestic donkeys. There was no obvious geographical structure in Chinese domestic donkey breeds, but the population showed abundant mtDNA diversity. The spread routes of Chinese domestic donkeys were also discussed.


Chinese Domestic Donkeys;MtDNA Dloop;Origin


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Supported by : Northwest A&F University