Location: Range Management ResearchTitle: Genetic background of Criollo cattle in Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina and the United States
|ARMSTRONG, E - Universidad De La República
|RODRIGUEZ-ALMEIDA, F - Universidad Autónoma De Guerrero
|MCINTOSH, MATTHEW - New Mexico State University
|POLI, M - Instituto Nacional De Tecnologia Agropecuaria
|CIBILS, ANDES - New Mexico State University
|MARTINEZ-QUINTANA, J - Universidad Autónoma De Guerrero
|FELIX-PORTILLO, M - Universidad Autónoma De Guerrero
|Estell, Richard - Rick
Submitted to: Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2022
Publication Date: 5/1/2022
Citation: Armstrong, E., Rodriguez-Almeida, F.A., McIntosh, M.M., Poli, M., Cibils, A.F., Martinez-Quintana, J.A., Felix-Portillo, M., Estell, R.E. 2022. Genetic background of Criollo cattle in Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina and the United States. Journal of Arid Environments. 200. Article 104722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2022.104722.
Interpretive Summary: Cattle were introduced into the Western Hemisphere over 500 years ago. These cattle spread throughout the Americas and formed basis of American Criollo cattle. Their adaptibility allowed them to colonize and flourish in a wide variety of environments, with local adaptations resulting in several biotypes that still exist today. These cattle were the backbone of the cattle industry until they were displaced by other breeds, particularly those of European and African descent, at the end of the 19th century. These Criollo herds now exist mostly in marginal areas less suited to commercial breeds, and many of these localized populations are at risk of disappearing. This review focuses on biotypes from four countries (Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and the United States). Local producers and research institutions in several countries are helping to preserve Criollo populations. Research has shown that these cattle can produce high quality meat and are more resistant to diseases, and emphasize their high fertility, calving ease, longevity and ability to adapt to harsh environments. More detailed genetic analysis is needed to define populations and assist with conservation. Mexican Criollo have high genetic diversity and Longhorn cattle are closely related to Mexican Criollos. Research has revealed substantial genetic diversity among all North American Criollos, probably due to crossbreeding. Criollos from Argentina and Uruguay showed clear divergence from North American Criollo due to genetic isolation. More research is needed to characterize populations and determine strategies to conserve Criollo cattle.
Technical Abstract: Cattle were first introduced to the Western Hemisphere in 1493 and by subsequent introductions from the Iberian Peninsula, providing the genetic background of the American Criollo cattle, with influences from Spanish, Portuguese and African breeds. Criollo’s high adaptive capacity enabled them to spread and colonize a wide variety of environments. Their ancestry combined with local adaptations created the wide spectrum of American Criollo breeds that we see today, many currently at risk of extinction. We review the existing genetic and production data on the Argentinian, Mexican, Uruguayan and US Creole cattle that form the basis of the current and future research described in this special issue. In these countries, Criollo cattle became the basis of the livestock industry for the supply of meat, hides and animal work, until they were displaced by more specialized European and cebuine type cattle breeds at the end of the 19th century. Since then, Criollo herds remained mostly in marginal regions unsuitable for commercial breeds. Efforts by local producers and research institutions helped to preserve Criollo populations. Several studies have demonstrated that these animals can produce high quality meat and are more resistant to diseases, and emphasize their high fertility, calving ease, longevity and ability to adapt to harsh environments. Mexican Criollos have high genetic diversity but lack strong conservation programs. More detailed genetic characterization within each regional Criollo population is needed to establish appropriate conservation strategies. In US, Texas Longhorn cattle are closely related to Mexican Criollos, while Pineywoods show a stronger relationship with Iberian breeds. Variable levels of genetic diversity were found among all North American Criollos, probably due to crossbreeding. Criollos from Argentina and Uruguay showed clear divergence due to genetic isolation but clustered together, representing the southernmost expansion of bovine cattle in the Americas.