Breeding indigenous African taurine cattle tolerant to trypanosomosis is a straightforward approach to control costs generated by this disease. A recent study identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying trypanotolerance traits in experimental crosses between tolerant N'Dama and susceptible Boran zebu cattle. As trypanotolerance is thought to result from local adaptation of indigenous cattle breeds, we propose an alternative and complementary approach to study the genetic architecture of this trait, based on the identification of selection signatures within QTL or candidate genes. A panel of 92 microsatellite markers was genotyped on 509 cattle belonging to four West African trypanotolerant taurine breeds and 10 trypanosusceptible European or African cattle breeds. Some of these markers were located within previously identified QTL regions or candidate genes, while others were chosen in regions assumed to be neutral. A detailed analysis of the genetic structure of these different breeds was carried out to confirm a priori grouping of populations based on previous data. Tests based on the comparison of the observed heterozygosities and variances in microsatellite allelic size among trypanotolerant and trypanosusceptible breeds led to the identification of two significantly less variable microsatellite markers. BM4440, one of these two outlier loci, is located within the confidence interval of a previously described QTL underlying a trypanotolerance-related trait. Detection of selection signatures appears to be a straightforward approach for unravelling the molecular determinism of trypanosomosis pathogenesis. We expect that a whole genome approach will help confirm these results and achieve a higher resolving power
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