Inferring the breed of origin of dairy products can be achieved through molecular analysis of genetic markers with a population-specific pattern of segregation. The goal of the current work was to generate such markers in goats by resequencing several pigmentation genes [melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), v-kit Hardy-Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KIT), tyrosinase (TYR), and tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TYRP2)]. This experiment revealed 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), including 5 missense mutations and 1 nonsense mutation. These markers were genotyped in 560 goats from 18 breeds originally from Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Islands, and North Africa. Although the majority of SNP segregated at moderate frequencies in all populations (including 2 additional markers that were used as a source of information), we identified a c.764G>A SNP in MC1R that displayed highly divergent allelic frequencies in the Palmera breed compared with the Majorera and Tinerfena breeds from the Canary Islands. Thus, we optimized a pyrosequencing-based technique that allowed us to estimate, very accurately, the allele frequencies of this marker in complex DNA mixtures from different individuals. Once validated, we applied this method to generating breed-specific DNA profiles that made it possible to detect fraudulent cheeses in which Palmero cheese was manufactured with milk from Majorera goats. One limitation of this approach, however, is that it cannot be used to detect illegal manufacturing where Palmero dairy products are produced by mixing milk from Palmera and Majorera goats, because the c.764G>A SNP segregates in both breeds
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