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Identification of different types and subtypes in hills goats through morphological and biochemical analysis.

Twenty-four phenotypic characteristics of 189 adult male and female Nepalese hill goats from Pakhribas (eastern), Sindhuli (central), Bandipur and Lumle (western), and Salyan and Surkhet (mid-western) were measured and subjected to discriminant and cluster analysis. Seven blood protein and isoenzyme systems were analyzed using electrophoretic procedure.  The mean body weight, body length, chest girth, wither height, flank height, flank girth, neck length, neck girth, pelvic width, loin width, thigh diameter, head length, ear length, horn length, and tail length of Nepalese hill goats were found as 31.90 kg, 66.60 cm, 67.1 cm, 63.1 cm, 65.3 cm, 77.1 cm, 19.8 cm, 34.1 cm, 15.8 cm, 13.6 cm, 30.0 cm, 19.4 cm, 13.9 cm, 12.4 cm, and 11.9 cm, respectively. In general, horns were medium sized, cylindrical and straightway backward (47.9%) followed by straightway-upward (31.2%) projected. The gene frequency of horned condition (p) was higher (98.96%) than for polled (P). Seven color variants were identified with dominance of black followed by brown.  Discriminant analysis revealed higher probability of membership of goats in their own location. About 9-16 percent goats of one location were similar with other locations. Body weight, body length, chest girth, flank height and flank girths were the most discriminative variables. Cluster analysis showed three different types, being identified for eastern, mid and western part of Nepal. These three types were arbitrarily named as Above medium type, medium type and below medium type, respectively, and were significantly different (P<0.01)  from each other in most of the morphological characteristics studied. However, sub-types within a type of hill goats were not observed in this study. Phenotypic correlation between body size determining characteristics and body weight were positive and significantly higher (P<0.01). Models for predicting body weight of Nepalese hill goats were developed through regression analysis. Body length and chest girth were most predicting variables among several variables considered by following dropped down method. Protein and isoenzyme analysis revealed hemoglobin, albumin, transferrin, alkaline phosphatase, esterase-I and esterase-II to be polymorphic, while α-2-macroglobulin to be monomorphic in Nepalese hill goats. The Neiís genetic distance among goats from different locations were relatively low (0.0039-0.0246). Dendogram of Neiís genetic distance showed that the goats from Pakhribas were distinctly different from other locations, while dendogram of average morphological measurements showed that animals from Salyan and Surkeht were distinctly different from rest of the locations. The combined information of morphological and genetic dendogram implied that the goat population from Salyan and Surkhet, and Pakhribas were distinctly different to each other, while goats from Bandipur and Lumle were intermediate, between these two extremes.  Further study encompassing more number of goats covering larger areas, use of DNA markers and their relationship with economic traits, performance study, especially of these three identified types is needed for detailed understanding of breed characteristics of Nepalese hill goats.

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