Evidence for a geographical cline of casein haplotypes in Portuguese cattle breeds

Anim Genet. 2002 Aug;33(4):295-300. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2052.2002.00871.x.


Genetic variants of bovine milk proteins have been intensively used to characterize breeds and as markers for population/QTL studies throughout the world. However, a large number of cattle breeds including those found in Portugal, remain unstudied. In this work, we have analysed the genetic variation of six milk protein loci in 10 Portuguese cattle breeds by isoelectric focusing. High genetic diversities were generally found across breeds, with the exception of Mirandesa that showed a trend to fixation of the most common alleles in five loci, as well as of the rarer CSN3B allele. The casein haplotype BA2A was often the most frequent, followed by haplotypes BA2B and BA1A. Remarkably, CA2A was found to be the second most frequent haplotype in Southern breeds, supporting a geographical cline between Central-Northern European breeds and Bos indicus populations. Our data suggest that high genetic similarity among neighbouring Portuguese breeds is mainly caused by gene flow, and that the geographical distribution of particular casein haplotypes may indicate an influence of African cattle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caseins / genetics*
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Haplotypes*


  • Caseins