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Genomic signatures for drylands adaptation at gene-rich regions in African zebu cattle

Tijjani, Abdulfatai; Salim, Bashir; da Silva, Marcos Vinicius Barbosa; Eltahir, Hamza A.; Musa, Taha H.; Marshall, Karen; Hanotte, Olivier; Musa, Hassan H.


Abdulfatai Tijjani

Bashir Salim

Marcos Vinicius Barbosa da Silva

Hamza A. Eltahir

Taha H. Musa

Karen Marshall

Director of Frozen Ark Project & Professor of Genetics & Conservation

Hassan H. Musa


Indigenous Sudanese cattle are mainly indicine/zebu (humped) type. They thrive in the harshest dryland environments characterised by high temperatures, long seasonal dry periods, nutritional shortages, and vector disease challenges. Here, we sequenced 60 indigenous Sudanese cattle from six indigenous breeds and analysed the data using three genomic scan approaches to unravel cattle adaptation to the African dryland region.

We identified a set of gene-rich selective sweep regions, detected mostly on chromosomes 5, 7 and 19, shared across African and Gir zebu. These include genes involved in immune response, body size and conformation, and heat stress response. We also identified selective sweep regions unique to Sudanese zebu. Of these, a 250 kb selective sweep on chromosome 16 spans seven genes, including PLCH2, PEX10, PRKCZ, and SKI, which are involved in alternative adaptive metabolic strategies of insulin signalling, glucose homeostasis, and fat metabolism.

Our results suggest that environmental adaptation may involve recent and ancient selection at gene-rich regions, which might be under a common regulatory genetic control, in zebu cattle.


Tijjani, A., Salim, B., da Silva, M. V. B., Eltahir, H. A., Musa, T. H., Marshall, K., …Musa, H. H. (2022). Genomic signatures for drylands adaptation at gene-rich regions in African zebu cattle. Genomics, 114(4), Article 110423.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 6, 2022
Publication Date Jul 6, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2023
Journal Genomics
Print ISSN 0888-7543
Electronic ISSN 1089-8646
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 114
Issue 4
Article Number 110423
Keywords Adaptive genetic differentiation; Insulin signalling; Fat metabolism; Desert adaptation; African zebu; Sudanese zebu
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Genomic signatures for drylands adaptation at gene-rich regions in African zebu cattle; Journal Title: Genomics; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


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