Morphostructural Differentiation and Variability of Merino Sheep Breed Under Sustained Directional Selection

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R. de la Barra; E. Latorre; M. E. Martínez & C. Calderón


In this paper, the degree of differentiation and morphostructural variability reached by the type of animal resulting from sustained directional selection, in addition to its implications for the emergence of a new sheep breed are analyzed. Twenty-five rams and 200 ewes from a sheep flock submitted to directional selection since 1987 were measured. Thirteen body measurements were taken in other to evaluate the structural morphology and sexual dimorphism. These measurements were compared with identical measures taken in Australian Merino and Marin Magellan Meat Merino sheep breeds. The intrapopulation homogeneity was assessed using the coefficients of variation of the average percentage of body measurements. It is concluded that sustained directional selection has generated the differentiation of the morphostructural format of the subject population compared to the main Merino-type breeds in the Chilean Patagonia. The population shows a similar (and in some cases lower) morphostructural variability than those found in recognized sheep breeds in Chile, so it is possible to state that this population behaves like a different animal group, with breed characteristics.

KEY WORDS: Breeding; Genetics; Morphology.

How to cite this article

DE LA BARRA, R.; LATORRE, E.; MARTÍNEZ, M. E. & CALDERÓN, C. Morphostructural differentiation and variability of Merino sheep breed under sustained directional selection. Int. J. Morphol., 32(3):1069-1073, 2014.