Brazil has several breeds of sheep, including animals that developed from breeds brought by settlers soon after their discovery. Over the years, these animals were under the process of natural selection, resulting in breeds that are considered naturalized. The Pantaneiro sheep shows rusticity and ability of adaptation to tropical climate regions and tolerance or resistance to disease and parasites. Molecular tools have marked the discovery of the origin and domestication processes of a wide variety of species, using both nuclear and mitochondrial molecular markers. These tools have aided in the understanding of evolutionary relationships, taxonomies, and demographics of various species and provided support to identify the most important areas for conservation programs, in addition to assisting in the analysis of genetic diversity in domestic, wildlife and endangered species. Researches using these tools show the importance of exploiting the potential of the genetic diversity found in locally adapted livestock. So far, a few studies were performed to observe that Pantaneiro sheep served as maternal basis for the origin of other breeds reared. Moreover, it is possible to suggest an European origin for the sheep populations studied; therefore, more studies using more markers are needed, so that it is possible to prove their origin.
Part of the book: Livestock Science