A genome-wide set of SNPs detects population substructure and long range linkage disequilibrium in wild sheep

Mol Ecol Resour. 2011 Mar;11(2):314-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02918.x. Epub 2010 Sep 10.


The development of genomic resources for wild species is still in its infancy. However, cross-species utilization of technologies developed for their domestic counterparts has the potential to unlock the genomes of organisms that currently lack genomic resources. Here, we apply the OvineSNP50 BeadChip, developed for domestic sheep, to two related wild ungulate species: the bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) and the thinhorn sheep (Ovis dalli). Over 95% of the domestic sheep markers were successfully genotyped in a sample of fifty-two bighorn sheep while over 90% were genotyped in two thinhorn sheep. Pooling the results from both species identified 868 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 570 were detected in bighorn sheep, while 330 SNPs were identified in thinhorn sheep. The total panel of SNPs was able to discriminate between the two species, assign population of origin for bighorn sheep and detect known relationship classes within one population of bighorn sheep. Using an informative subset of these SNPs (n=308), we examined the extent of genome-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD) within one population of bighorn sheep and found that high levels of LD persist over 4 Mb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / genetics
  • Female
  • Genome*
  • Genotype
  • Linkage Disequilibrium*
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Sheep / genetics*
  • Sheep, Domestic / genetics