1022-7954/02/3812- $27.00 © 2002
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 38, No. 12, 2002, pp. 1417–1423. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 38, No. 12, 2002, pp. 1669–1676.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2002 by Iovenko.
Genetic diversity of individuals in populations is an
important factor of population improvement, especially
in the current situation of drastically decreasing popu-
lation sizes of domestic breeds characterized by spe-
ciﬁc gene pools. As a result of lower biodiversity, these
gene pools loose their selective plasticity and become
vulnerable to adverse environmental factors. Therefore,
“the conservation of the gene pool is the commitment
to further evolution” (cited from ).
The studies of different sheep breeds and breed
types indicate considerable speciﬁcity of their genetic
structures. In this respect, local breeds are of particular
interest. However, individual features that are related to
genetic structure are markedly expressed even in sheep
having a common origin [2, 3]. These studies again tes-
tify to the fact that a breed is characterized by unique
integration of various genetic systems. Furthermore,
these studies indicate that breeding aimed at maintain-
ing a particular system of morphological and physio-
logical characteristics, which permits easy discrimina-
tion between different breeds, is accompanied by the
formation of the breed-speciﬁc genetic structure, in
particular, with regard to molecular–genetic markers.
The objective of our study was a comparative anal-
ysis of the frequencies of genotypes and alleles of
blood-group systems and blood protein loci in some
sheep breeds and breed types that differ in pedigree,
production type, and breeding standard and adequately
represent the genetic resources of Ukrainian sheep-
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The object of our study was sheep from different age
and sex groups bred at nine bloodstock farms in four
southern regions of Ukraine. The following breeds and
breed types were studied: the Ascanian Merino (
8275), Tsigai (
= 17 940), and Karakul (
breeds; the Ascanian multiparous type of the Karakul
= 3555); and the Ascanian black-faced type
= 725) and the crossbred type (
= 813) of the Ukrai-
nian Meat-and-Wool breed.
The studies were based on the analysis of polymor-
phism for antigen factors of six blood-group systems
(A, B, C, D, M, and R) and for two blood protein (Hb
and Tf) and isozyme (AEs and Ap) systems. For eryth-
rocytic antigens, sheep were typed using serum
reagents obtained at the laboratory of immunogenetics
(Ivanov Institute of Animal Breeding in Steppe
Regions, Ascania-Nova)  by means of serological
reactions of hemolysis and agglutination. The geno-
typic and allelic diversity of blood-group systems was
determined using a pedigree analysis of familial triads
(father–mother–offspring) in successive generations.
Allotypes of blood proteins and enzymes were
determined using starch gel electrophoresis in a hori-
zontal slab . Allele and genotype frequencies were
deduced from the Hardy–Weinberg equation .
Genetic diversity of sheep breeds and breed types was
estimated according to Zhivotovsky .
To estimate the signiﬁcance of differences between
the corresponding allele and genotype frequencies in
the studied sheep populations, Fisher’s
tion  was used.
Genetic Diversity of Protein Markers
in Sheep Populations from Ukraine
V. N. Iovenko
Ivanov Institute of Animal Breeding in the Steppe Regions, Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Sciences,
Ascania-Nova, 72230 Ukraine; fax: (05538) 2-26-75; e-mail: email@example.com
Received June 9, 2001; in ﬁnal form, October 26, 2001
—Based on polymorphism of genes for antigen factors of six blood-group systems and four blood pro-
tein loci, genetic structure and the main variation parameters were studied in three sheep breeds and three sheep
breed types constituting the basis of purebred sheep resources in Ukraine. Speciﬁc features of the distribution
of genotypes and alleles of polymorphic loci were determined in each of the studied sheep groups depending
on their origin and production type. The molecular–genetic markers used in the analysis of the genetic relation-
ships between the sheep breeds and breed types were shown to objectively reﬂect their breeding history and
evolution. Integrally, each of the studied gene pools had a speciﬁc proﬁle of gene frequencies reﬂecting breed-
ing speciﬁcity, breed history, and genetic differentiation of breeds.