Analysis of genetic diversity and population structure within the icelandic cattle breed using molecular markers

M. G. Ásbjarnardóttir, T. Kristjánsson, M. B. Jónsson, J. H. Hallsson

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The Icelandic cattle breed is believed to have been brought to Iceland from Norway around 1100 years ago. Since then it is thought to have been almost completely isolated and to have gone through large fluctuations in population size. Here molecular markers were used to assess the breed's genetic diversity and the current within-population genetic structure using a randomly selected unbiased sample from the population as verified by calculations of the coefficient of relationship (R). Measures of genetic diversity suggest that there is considerable diversity within the breed despite long-term isolation and the effective population size is high considering the isolation and the breeding system used in recent years. No evidence of recent bottlenecks was found and analysis of population structure suggests that the population is uniform in structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalActa Agriculturae Scandinavica A: Animal Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for this study was provided by the Icelandic Board of Genetic Resources in Agriculture, the Icelandic Agricultural Productivity Fund, and the Icelandic research fund for graduate students. The authors would like to thank Dr. Áslaug Helgadóttir for comments on the manuscript and Gunnfríður E. Hreiðarsdóttir for useful information regarding the Icelandic cattle breed.

Other keywords

  • Bottleneck
  • Effective population size
  • Genetic structure
  • Inbreeding


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