Morphometric and genetic variation in 8 breeds of Ethiopian camels (Camelus dromedarius)

Yoseph W. Legesse, Christopher Dunn, Matthew Mauldin, Nicte Ordonez-Garza, Gage R. Rowden, Yoseph Mekasha Gebre, Mohammed Y. Kurtu, Seid Mohammed Ali, Wondmagegne Whibesilassie, Michael Ballou, Melaku Tefera, Gad Perry, Robert Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) are a domesticated and closely guarded economic staple of indigenous people located throughout Ethiopian territorial states. Seventeen morphometric variables were examined to determine intraspecific variation among 8 pastoralist- designated breeds of camels. Additionally, DNA sequences from mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene and genotyping of 6 nuclear microsatellite loci were examined to assess genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship of Ethiopian camels. Examination of 525 individuals revealed significant morphometric differentiation in Afar as compared with the remaining 7 breeds. Analysis of cytochrome-b sequences failed to recover monophyletic groups associated with pastoralist-recognized breeds. Analysis of 6 microsatellite loci from 104 individuals depicted no resolution of distinct genetic lineages in accordance to geographical or designated breeds. Overall, separation of 2 ecotypes based on the morphometric data was supported; however, genetic analysis of cytochrome-b and microsatellite data failed to support any unique genetic lineage or statistically significant population structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4925-4934
Number of pages10
JournalDefault journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2018


  • Breeds
  • Camelus dromedarius
  • Morphometrics
  • Systematics


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