Characterization of indigenous fat-tailed and fat-rumped hair sheep in Kenya: diversity in blood proteins.
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This paper reports the variation in five blood proteins from five populations of sheep found in Kenya. Blood samples were collected from a total of 309 adult sheep of both sexes in Kwale, Makueni and Kakamega districts for the fat-tailed sheep and in Isiolo district for the fat-rumped hair sheep. Fine-wooled Merino sheep were used in this study as the reference population. Transferrin, esterase-A and esterase-C were polymorphic in all the populations investigated, while albumin was monomorphic for the S allele in the fat-tailed sheep and haemoglobin was fixed for the B allele in the Kwale, Makueni and Isiolo populations. Phylogenies derived from the pairwise genetic distance estimates showed a clear separation between the indigenous sheep populations and the exotic Merino. However, the topology of the former showed rather poor consistency with their morphological classification based on the localization of their fat deposits, namely fat-tailed or fat-rumped hair sheep.