Preserving breed uniqueness and purity is vitally important in developing conservation/breeding programs for a germplasm collection of rare and endangered chicken breeds. The present study was aimed at analyzing SNP genetic variability of 21 small local and imported purebred and F1 crossbred populations and identifying crossbreeding events via whole-genome evaluation of runs of homozygosity (ROH). The admixture models more efficiently reflected population structure, pinpointing crossbreeding events in the presence of ancestral populations but not in their absence. Multidimensional scaling and FST-based analyses did not discriminate properly between purebred populations and F1 crossbreds, especially when comparing related breeds. When applying the ROH-based approach, more and longer ROHs were revealed in purebred individuals/populations, suggesting this as an effective implement in genome-wide analysis of germplasm breed purity.
Keywords: SNPs; chicken breeds; germplasm conservation; linkage disequilibrium; runs of homozygosity.