[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of the total substitution of soybean meal with castor meal, detoxified or non-detoxified, on the response to estrous synchronization, conception rate, early fetal development, presence of IgG, and metabolic-hormonal response. Sixty mixed goats were fed diets without castor meal (WCM), with detoxified castor meal (DCM), and with castor meal (CM) during early pregnancy. The goats had their estrous synchronized and were then submitted to the mating season. The number of fetuses was determined by ultrasonography after 25 days of mating and their development was followed until 60 days of gestation. Plasma levels of progesterone (P4), liver enzymes, and urea were determined along with the evaluation of the immunological response. After 15 days of experimental feeding, immunoglobulin G (IgG) was detected by western blotting only in goats that received non-detoxified castor meal. There was no effect (p > 0.05) of type of diet on response to estrous synchronization, plasma P4 levels, conception rate, or embryonic/fetal development. In pregnant goats, there was an effect of diet (p < 0.001) on plasma urea levels in multiple-birth pregnancy, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) in single-birth pregnancy, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in both types of pregnancy. In non-pregnant goats, there were increased urea levels in all types of diets and in LDH in WCM goats, but GGT levels decreased in the WCM and CM goats when compared with pregnant goats (p > 0.05). In addition, plasma levels of LDH in WCM goats and of urea in all types of diet were higher in non-pregnant goats than pregnant goats. In conclusion, it can be inferred that the inclusion of 15% castor meal, whether or not it is detoxified, to the diet of goats does not affect the reproductive performance, embryonic and early fetal development, or blood metabolites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipotoxicity is characterized by excessive saturated fatty acids in the blood, increasing storage in non-adipose cells, which leads to changes in the expression pattern of genes related to endoplasmic reticulum stress (e.g., ATF4, ATF6, CHOP, and GRP78), pro- and anti-apoptotic pathways (e.g., Bax and Bcl-2, and protein stability, including heat shock proteins, e.g., HSP70). A negative sub-cellular effect is usually an end result, which also occurs in the ovarian follicular population, affecting granulosa cells and cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs), which leads to a decrease in oocyte quality and mitochondrial activity, and increased apoptosis. The addition of high doses of non-esterified fatty acids to oocyte in vitro maturation medium has been shown to slow the progression of meiosis, hampering oocyte maturation and subsequent in vitro embryo development. Due to its importance in the control of cellular lipid droplets and expression correlation with cytosolic lipid accumulation, the expression of the Plin 2 (Perilipin 2) protein is also highlighted. The aim of this review is to discuss some reproductive implications of dietary lipid supplementation in ruminant females, and the potential effects of lipotoxicity on oocyte quality and reproduction, and the main mechanisms involved in the expression of genes related to endoplasmic reticulum stress and cellular lipid accumulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Este estudo avaliou o efeito de suplementos alimentares com diferentes níveis de proteína sobre a resposta reprodutiva e metabólica de ovelhas durante o período de monta. Quarenta e uma ovelhas foram suplementadas durante 43 dias com proteína em quantidade para satisfazer 1,0 (dieta I; n = 14), 1,7 (dieta II; n = 13) e 2,1 (dieta III; n = 14) vezes as exigências de manutenção. O consumo de matéria seca (MS) foi superior (P < 0,01) na dieta III quando comparada com as dietas I e II. As sobras foram menores nas dietas II e III (P < 0,05) quando comparada à dieta I. O consumo de matéria orgânica (MO), proteína bruta (PB) e extrato estéreo (EE) foram superiores na dieta III, porém a ingestão de NDF e ADF foi maior na dieta I (P < 0,05). Na dieta III foi observada uma maior frequência de fêmeas montadas (P < 0,05). A taxa de prolificidade e gemelaridade foi maior em ovelhas da dieta II (P < 0,05). Verificou-se um maior peso ao nascimento de cordeiros (P < 0,05) na dieta III. Os níveis de progesterona medidos após o acasalamento foram afetados pelas dietas II e III (P < 0,05). Em conclusão, a suplementação de ovelhas com nível intermediário de proteína melhora sua resposta reprodutiva.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of supplementation with detoxified castor meal (DCM) in the diet of ewes during pregnancy, partum, and post-partum on the weight development of their offspring and at slaughter. The study included 56 ewes with synchronized estrus that were naturally mated. At the beginning of pregnancy and in post-partum, hepatic and renal function-related parameters and progesterone levels were measured. At slaughter, the proximate composition and fatty acid profile were determined in the loin of ewes. There was no effect of diet on reproductive response after estrus synchronization. At the beginning of pregnancy, albumin and creatinine levels were lower in the DCM group. Supplementation with DCM did not alter the weight or body condition of ewes at partum. However, at weaning, the DCM group showed a higher loin-eye area (LEA) in relation to the group fed diets without detoxified castor meal (WDCM). At partum, as well as at weaning, the offspring of the ewes supplemented with DCM had a larger LEA than the WDCM group. In post-partum, levels of glucose, urea, protein, and cholesterol were lower in the DCM group. The return to cyclicity was similar in both groups, with an average of 47 days after partum. At slaughter, neither anatomical and carcass components nor the results of the proximate analysis were affected by the type of diet, except for an increase in heptadecanoic acid in the DCM group. Supplementation with detoxified castor meal in the diet of ewes does not affect lambing, pregnancy, prolificacy, return to cyclicity, milk production, blood biochemical parameters, or carcass characteristics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to assess the effects of dietary supplementation with crude glycerin on embryo quality and expression profile of genes from superovulated goats. Twenty-four hours (1 day) and 72 hours (3 days) after mating animals received an oral drench of 200 mL saline solution (Control group), 100 mL glycerol (100 mL group) or 200 mL glycerol (200 mL group). Both insulin and glucose levels were measured after glycerol drenching. The relative expression of genes (Glut-1, IGF-1, Hsp70, Sod and Bax) in grade I and II embryos from groups was analyzed by sensitive TaqMan qPCR. Administration of crude glycerin raised insulin and glucose (p < 0.05) plasma concentrations. Similar rates of superovulatory response (94.12%; 16/17) and recovery of transferable embryos (N embryo grades 1, 2 and 3/N ovulation), (44.69 ± 6.83%; 100/224) were obtained. The 200 mL group showed a greater proportion of transferable embryos compared to the degenerated embryos (8.83 ± 2.30 vs. 1.17 ± 0.83, p < 0.05), that achieved values 2-fold higher than control group (4.80 ± 2.30 vs. 0.20 ± 0.20, p < 0.05) and 100 mL group (3.83 ± 1.25 vs. 1.17 ± 0.48, p > 0.05). A higher relative abundance of IGF-1 transcripts was observed in 200 mL group. Also none differences were observed for transcripts of apoptotic (Bax) and stress (Hsp70) genes. In conclusion, enhancement of circulating glucose and insulin generated from drenching crude glycerin after mating was associated with higher IGF-I expression and increased proportion of transferable embryos.
Small Ruminant Research 07/2014; 120(1). DOI:10.1016/j.smallrumres.2014.03.012 · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether the consumption of detoxified castor meal (DCM) by goats over a long period of time affects mRNA levels in oocytes, and in mural granulosa and cumulus cells. A total of 41 adult does were supplemented (DCM group, n=21) or not (control group, n=20) with detoxified castor meal (DCM) for a period of 500 days. Then, 13 and 12 does were randomly selected for slaughter from the DCM and control treatments groups, respectively, for the determination of the number of visible ovarian follicles, retrieved cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs), and viable and non-viable oocytes. The relative expression levels for distinct genes were determined by quantitative PCR in viable immature oocytes prior to in vitro maturation (IVM), in oocytes attaining or not the metaphase stage after IVM, as well as in granulosa cells obtained upon oocyte collection, and in cumulus cells obtained after IVM. The number of follicles ≥4mm did not differ between treatments (overall mean 23.3±2.0) and no significant differences were observed in the recovery of viable, non-viable, or total mean numbers of oocytes (control group: 44.7±4.6, DCM group: 54.9±5.9, respectively) between control and DCM fed goats. The maturation rate was significantly higher for control than DCM oocytes (58.0% vs. 45.3%; P<0.05). The mRNA levels in immature COC for controls were significantly higher for GLUT1 and lower for HSP70 (P<0.05) than for DCM. Following maturation, MII oocytes from both treatments had mRNA levels that were significantly higher for GDF9 and lower for BMP15 than for NC oocytes (P<0.05). In cumulus cells, the mRNA levels were significantly higher for LHR, FSHR, LeptinR, and IGF1, and lower for MnSOD in the control group compared with the DCM group (P<0.05). In conclusion, the inclusion of DCM in goat feed for long periods of time changed gene expression in immature oocytes and in cumulus cells. This was reflected by a decrease in the in vitro oocyte maturation rate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipid-rich and energy-dense diets can have significant effects on the reproductive physiology, including the ovarian function and fertility. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of cashew nut bran supplementation as a lipid source on follicle development, plasma and intrafollicular concentrations of cholesterol, and developmental competence of in vitro-matured goat oocytes. The inclusion of cashew nut bran as 24% of the goats' diet for 28 days increased the percentage and number of degenerated oocytes compared with the control (P < 0.05), and also the plasma cholesterol levels and the proportion of grade IV oocytes compared with all other treatments (P < 0.05). Moreover, a significant reduction was observed in the proportion of viable oocytes compared with the control and in the percentage of grade II oocytes compared with all other treatments (P < 0.05). Oocyte maturation, cleavage, and blastocyst rates after parthenogenetic activation of viable oocytes were not affected by the type of diet. In conclusion, the inclusion of cashew nut bran as 24% of the diet of adult goats for 28 days changed plasma cholesterol levels and reduced the proportion of viable immature oocytes; however, the 12% and 24% diet supplementations with cashew nut bran did not interfere with competence of resulting viable oocytes to reach the metaphase II stage after IVM, and to develop after parthenogenetic activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced naturally by filamentous fungi, which are considered toxic substances when present in food for humans and feed for animals. They are frequently found in products such as nuts, corn, rice, and several other cereals, which can be contaminated in the field during harvest or during storage. Studies have demonstrated their toxigenic, nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, carcinogenic, immunosuppressive and mutagenic characteristics, and most mycotoxins represent a considerable risk to human and animal health. This review describes the main mycotoxins that have been isolated and chemically characterized and which are currently the subject of studies due to their proven potential toxicity.
Food Control 02/2014; 36(1):159-165. DOI:10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.08.021 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hormonal responses of 20 female buffaloes raised under the sun (SS group) or in the shade (CS group) in Belém, Pará, Brazil, were assessed. The CS group (n = 10) was kept in a silvopasture system featuring Racosperma mangium, whereas the SS group (n = 10) was kept in paddocks without shade featuring Brachiaria humidicola, drinking water, and mineral salt. The following parameters were measured for each treatment: dry-bulb temperature (AT), relative humidity (RH), and black-globe temperature in order to calculate the globe temperature and humidity index (GTHI). Blood sample collections to quantitatively determine levels of cortisol, triiodothyronine (T 3), and thyroxine (T 4) were performed every 14 days, at 13.00 h. Different seasons of the year were also assessed: rainy (January-April), transition (May-July), and less rainy (August-December). Analysis of variance revealed that AT and the index of global temperature and humidity (GTHI) differed between groups; specifically, higher values were found in the SS group, which shows how important silvopastoral systems are in buffalo farming in tropical climates. Relative humidity was significantly different across seasons and particularly high in the rainy season. The treatments influenced cortisol such that higher values were observed in the SS group. The highest mean cortisol levels were recorded during the rainy and less rainy seasons, whereas the highest T 3 and T 4 levels were recorded only during the rainy season. Triiodothyronine and thyroxine were negatively correlated with AT and GTHI and positively correlated with RH. Silvopastoral systems provide thermal comfort to buffaloes, and the less rainy season is more likely to cause heat stress.
Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 01/2014; 43(1):44-48. DOI:10.13140/2.1.1507.3920 · 0.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipid-rich and energy-dense diets can have significant effects on the reproductive physiology, including the ovarian function and fertility. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of cashew nut bran supplementation as a lipid source on follicle development, plasma and intrafollicular concentrations of cholesterol, and developmental competence of in vitro-matured goat oocytes. The inclusion of cashew nut bran as 24% of the goats’ diet for 28 days increased the percentage and number of degenerated oocytes compared with the control (p<0.05), as well as the plasma cholesterol levels and the proportion of Grade IV oocytes compared with all other treatments (p<0.05). Moreover, a significant reduction was observed in the proportion of viable oocytes compared with the control and in the percentage of Grade II oocytes compared with all other treatments (p<0.05). Oocyte maturation, cleavage and blastocyst rates after parthenogenetic activation of viable oocytes were not affected by the type of diet. In conclusion, the inclusion of cashew nut bran as 24% of the diet of adult goats for 28 days changed plasma cholesterol levels and reduced the proportion of viable immature oocytes; however, the 12% and 24% diet supplementations with cashew nut bran did not interfere with competence of resulting viable oocytes to reach the metaphase II stage after in vitro maturation, and to develop after parthenogenetic activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty-five adult crossbred goats, divided in two groups, were fed over a period of 16 months with diets based on Tifton hay and concentrate feed with (DCM) or without (WDCM) detoxified castor bean meal as a substitute for soybean meal. Throughout 480 days, blood samples were taken to measure lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, urea, albumin and creatinine. The animals were euthanized, and the anatomical components (lungs, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, tongue, empty stomach, empty intestines, omentum, cardiac and renal adipose tissue), carcass and commercial cuts (shoulder, ham, loin, ribs and neck) were weighed. Thereafter, an anatomic dissection of the loin was performed, separating the muscle, adipose and bone tissues. On the muscular part of the loin, longissimus dorsi, the proximate composition, fatty acid profile and the expression of SEW-1, IGF-I and IGF-II were analyzed. A higher incidence of bone tissue was observed in the anatomical dissections of the loin and a lower incidence of fat in the proximate composition of the longissimus dorsi of the DCO group compared to the WDCM group (p < 0.05). The expression of the IGF-II and SEW-1 genes was higher (p < 0.001 for each) in the muscle tissue of the DCM animals. Thus, using detoxified castor bean meal for long periods does not produce significant changes in the anatomical composition of the loin or the proximate composition of the longissimus dorsi. However, the differences in gene expression suggest the need for new investigations and care when using this product for animal feeding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to determine the adaptability of Saanen and ½Saanen × ½Anglo-Nubian (½S½AN) goats bred in tropical climates. The study included 30 goats, 15 Saanen and 15 ½S½AN. The data was collected during the rainy and dry seasons. During the whole experimental period, the environment variables were recorded, as well as rectal temperature (RT), superficial temperature (ST), respiratory rate (RR) and heart rate (HR) and milk production (MP). The adaptability coefficient (AC) was calculated for both genotypes. The averages were evaluated by ANOVA at 5 % probability. There was a genotype and period of year effect, as well as the interaction genotype × period of year. Pearson's simple correlation analysis was then carried out between milk production and physiological and environment variables. There was a statistical difference (p < 0.05) between the seasons for RT, ST and RR. RT, RR and HR were lower for ½S½AN than Saanen goats, regardless of the season. MP was greater in the dry season (p < 0.05) (2.52 ± 0.50 kg/day for ½S½AN and 2.41 ± 0.38 kg/day for Saanen) than the rainy season (2.17 ± 0.27 kg/day for ½S½AN and 2.28 ± 0.53 kg/day for Saanen). The MP correlations were very significant (p < 0.05), however low and negative, where it was higher when correlated with RR in Saanen goats. Under the conditions of the present study, it is concluded that the goats were influenced by climatic factors, where the rainy period was more likely to cause thermal stress in the animals.
International Journal of Biometeorology 11/2013; 58(7). DOI:10.1007/s00484-013-0760-x · 3.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, we evaluated the effect of long-term ingestion of detoxified castor meal on in vitro development of sheep preantral follicles as well as on the developmental competence of oocytes from antral follicles. Ovarian fragments were cultured for one or seven days and further analyzed by histology and fluorescence microscopy (experiment 1). The cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) obtained from antral follicles were matured in vitro and activated by parthenogenesis or fertilization in vitro (experiment 2). Even after 1 day of culture, in both tested groups, a significant reduction in the percentage of primordial follicles and a concomitant increase in the percentage of intermediate follicles were observed when compared to non cultured tissue. After 7 days of culture, the percentage of primary follicles in both tested groups was significantly higher when compared to the non cultured tissue or the tissue cultured for 1 day (P < 0.05). The number of in vitro embryos produced was similar between the tested groups. However, for those animals fed with detoxified castor meal, the parthenogenesis method resulted in a higher number of embryos (morulae) when compared to in vitro fertilization (IVF) activation. In conclusion, detoxified castor meal can be used as an alternative protein source without affecting the ovine preantral and antral folliculogenesis.
Small Ruminant Research 07/2013; 113(s 2–3):353–359. DOI:10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.03.005 · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of alternative protein sources that do not impair animal performance is a feasible option to reduce costs associated with animal supplementation. Previous studies indicate that castor cake has a high protein value and good ruminal degradability, making it an attractive alternative dietary source for ruminants. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects from ingestion of castor cake (treatment CC) or detoxified castor cake (treatment DCC) on serum IgG levels, in vivo production of goat embryos, and the expression profile of genes related to embryonic development, metabolism, and oxidative stress. The results showed the presence of IgG against ricin only in animals of the CC group. The ovulation rate and the production of transferable embryos in animals of the CC group were lower (P < 0.05) than in the animals fed without castor cake (WCC), but neither group differed significantly from the DCC group. There was no effect of type of diet on the expression of the IGF-IR, IGF-II, and GLUT-1 genes in goat embryos produced in vivo. However, the relative expression of mRNA for the HSP 70.1 gene was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the CC group than in the WCC group, but did not differ from that of the DCC group. In conclusion, this study showed that supplementation with detoxified castor cake can be used for goat feeding, but caution is necessary when providing castor bean meal in the feed of superovulated breeding females, because ricin in the diet, even at low concentrations, altered IgG levels and the expression of mRNA for HSP 70.1, effects that were accompanied by a lower rate of transferable embryos.
Animal Production Science 01/2013; 54(7). DOI:10.1071/AN13268 · 1.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirty-nine nulliparous and cyclic free-ranging Anglo-nubian goats were synchronized using 60 mg MAP intravaginal sponges for 10 days and 50 μg cloprostenol treatment, 48 h before sponge removal (SR). Goats were allocated to 3 groups with 13 animals in each group. The treatment groups, Insulin 0.14 and Insulin 0.20 were treated subcutaneously, for 3 consecutive days – beginning 48 h before SR, with 0.14 IU/kg BW/day or 0.2 IU/kg BW/day of a long-acting insulin, respectively. The Control group received a 0.5 ml saline solution (s.c.). The goats were monitored for the occurrence of estrus and mated at the onset of estrus and 24 h later. Transrectal ultrasonography was used to monitor the ovarian follicular dynamics, ovulation rate and diagnose pregnancy. Blood samples were collected from 48 h before SR to the 12th day of pregnancy for plasma insulin determinations. Insulin administration exhibited an increase (p < 0.05) in animals with plasma insulineamia. Insulin treated goats recorded a higher (p < 0.05) ovulation rate, when compared to saline control treated goats (1.7 ± 0.23 vs 1.0 ± 0.21). Nulliparous does from the Insulin 0.14 group recorded large follicles at 0, 12 and 18 h of the estrous period (p < 0.05), a more efficient synchronization of ovulation (p < 0.05) and larger size CLs (p < 0.05). It was concluded that administration in insulin induced a positive effect on ovarian response in nulliparous goats. Furthermore, in these animals the reproductive performance appeared to be independent of the increase of insulin dosage.
Small Ruminant Research 06/2012; 105(s 1–3):282–285. DOI:10.1016/j.smallrumres.2012.03.003 · 1.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirty adult goats were classified at parturi-tion into two body condition score (BCS) groups: BCI (n=16) with a score of 2.7 and BCII (n=14) with a score of 2.0. On the fiftieth day postpartum, oestrus was synchronized by CIDR for 5 days. Upon CIDR removal (Day 0), they received 1 mL of PGF2α IM and mated for 72 hours. Kids were kept with does and weaned at 40 days of age. Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, 4, 8 and 21 days after CIDR removal for prog-esterone assay. The BCI group showed a greater weight loss compared to the BCII group, and BCS before synchronization was 1.9±0.08 and 1.6±0.07 for the BCI and BCII groups, respec-tively (P<0.05). The weaning weight of BCI kids was greater when compared to BCII (P<0.001). After CIDR removal, all females were marked and mated. Pregnancy rate was higher in BCI goats (87% vs 36%; P<0.05), as well as prolifica-cy (1.65 vs 1.25; P<0.05) and twinning rate (0.62 vs 0.25; P<0.05). Progesterone concentra-tion was higher in pregnant does in BCI. A pos-itive relationship was found between proges-terone level at CIDR removal and BCS at partu-rition (0.57; P<0.01), also between proges-terone level at 21 days after CIDR removal and BCS at parturition (0.47; P<0.05), or BCS before synchronization (0.51; P<0.05). We con-clude that oestrus response to postpartum CIDR synchronization appeared to be slightly depend-ent on BCS. However, goats with low BCS at oestrus synchronization exhibited a reduction in pregnancy rate.
Italian Journal of Animal Science 10/2011; 10(4). DOI:10.4081/ijas.2011.e42 · 0.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to evaluate the performance and carcass characteristics were used 14 whole lambs, fed with diets containing concentrate and sorghum silage or dehydrated cashew apple bagasse (DCAP) as source of roughage. The animals had an average initial body weight of 12 kg and were slaughtered when they reached 25 kg of live weight. We used a completely randomized design with two diets and seven replicates. The feed conversion of the group fed with DCAP (8.08 ± 0.32) was better (p
Archivos de Zootecnia 09/2011; 60(231):777-786. DOI:10.4321/S0004-05922011000300065
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study aimed at analyzing the genetic variability of indigenous goat breeds (Capra hircus) using the MHC-associated microsatellite markers BF1, BM1818, BM1258, DYMS1, and SMHCC1. The following breeds were included: Chinese Xuhuai, Indian Changthangi and Pashmina, Kenyan Small East African (SEA) and Galla, and Albanian Vendi. To examine genetic variability, the levels of heterozigosity, degrees of inbreeding, and genetic differences among the breeds were analyzed. The mean number of alleles ranged from nine in the Galla to 14.5 in the Vendi breed. The mean observed heterozygosity and mean expected heterozygosity varied from 0.483 in the Vendi to 0.577 in the Galla breed, and from 0.767 in the SEA to 0.879 in the Vendi breed, respectively. Significant loss of heterozygosity (p < 0.01) indicated that these loci were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The mean F(IS) values ranged from 0.3299 in the SEA to 0.4605 in the Vendi breed with a mean value of 0.3623 in all breeds (p < 0.001). Analysis of molecular variance indicated that 7.14% and 4.74% genetic variation existed among the different breeds and geographic groups, whereas 92.86% and 95.26% existed in the breeds and the geographic groups, respectively (p < 0.001). The microsatellite marker analysis disclosed a high degree of genetic polymorphism. Loss of heterozygosity could be due to genetic drift and endogamy. The genetic variation among populations and geographic groups does not indicate a correlation of genetic differences with geographic distance.