Confronting pastoralists’ knowledge of cattle breeds raised in the extensive production systems of Benin with multivariate analyses of morphological traits

Autoři: Sandrine O. Houessou aff001;  Luc Hippolyte Dossa aff001;  Rodrigue Vivien Cao Diogo aff002;  Maurice Cossi Ahozonlin aff001;  Mahamadou Dahouda aff001;  Eva Schlecht aff003
Působiště autorů: Ecole des Sciences et Techniques de Production Animale, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey- Calavi, Bénin aff001;  Département des Sciences et Techniques de Productions Animale et Halieutique, Université de Parakou, Faculté d’Agronomie, Bénin aff002;  Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Kassel and University of Göttingen, Germany aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222756


Cross-border seasonal livestock movements in West Africa bring into close contact several cattle breeds. In the coastal countries hosting migrating herders from the Sahel, it often affects the genetic variability and geographical distribution of traditional cattle breeds, through their indiscriminate but also intended crossbreeding with larger-framed Sahelian cattle breeds. The need to secure and effectively manage this genetic variability, in order to respond to changing production and market conditions, is widely recognized by the scientific community, livestock herders and policy-makers. This however requires a comprehensive knowledge of the breeds’ characteristics. The indigenous criteria used by pastoralists to characterize and distinguish cattle breeds remain unclear and further validation is required. This study was therefore designed to document and validate herders' knowledge on cattle breeds. From June 2015 to June 2016, 803 cattle herders participated in a phenotypic breed description in seven pastoral communities across the country. Each cattle herder was asked to name and describe morphologically the different cattle breeds in his herd. Subsequently, fifteen body measurements taken on a total of 1401 adult cattle (964 cows and 439 bulls) were submitted to multivariate analyses. Participants distinguished ten different cattle breeds kept in traditional herds according to six primary morphological traits and clearly separated zebuine from taurine breeds. These results were consistent with those of the multivariate analyses of the measured traits. However, herders’ classification approach proved to be more accurate in distinguishing breeds within the zebuine subspecies. Hence, while metric measurements and molecular genetic analyses are promising approaches to fill the knowledge gap on the diversity of local farm animal genetic resources, they should integrate livestock herders’ traditional knowledge for more precision.

Klíčová slova:

Animal genetics – Cattle – Ears – Farms – Livestock – Morphometry – Zebus – Benin


1. Belemsaga D, Lombo Y, Thevenon S, Sylla S. Inventory Analysis of West African Cattle Breeds. In: Makkar HP, Viljoen GJ. (eds) Applications of Gene-Based Technologies for Improving Animal Production and Health in Developing Countries. Springer, Dordrecht; 2005.

2. Mwai O, Hanotte O, Kwon YJ, Cho S. African indigenous cattle: unique genetic resources in a rapidly changing world. Asian Australas J. Anim. Sci. 2015; 28(7), 911–921.

3. Dueppen SA. Cattle in the West African savanna: evidence from 1st millennium CE Kirikongo, Burkina Faso. J. Archaeol. Sci. 2012; 39(1), 92–101.

4. Hanotte O, Dessie T, Kempe S. Time to Tap Africa’s Livestock Genomes. Science. 2010; 328, 1640. doi: 10.1126/science.1186254 20576875

5. Hanotte O, Bradley DG, Ochieng JW, Verjee Y, Hill EW, Rege JEO. African pastoralism: genetic imprints of origins and migrations. Science. 2002; 296(5566), 336–339. doi: 10.1126/science.1069878 11951043

6. Freeman AR, Meghen CM, Mac Hugh DE, Loftus RT, Achukwi MD, Bado A, et al. Admixture and diversity in West African cattle populations. Mol. Ecol. 2004; 13(11), 3477–3487. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2004.02311.x 15488005

7. Flori L, Thevenon S, Dayo G K, Senou M, Sylla S, Berthier D, et al. Adaptive admixture in the West African bovine hybrid zone: insight from the Borgou population. Mol. Ecol. 2014; 23, 3241–3257. doi: 10.1111/mec.12816 24888437

8. Hoffmann I. Climate change and the characterization, breeding and conservation of animal genetic resources. Anim. Genet. 2010; 41(s1), 32–46.

9. Rege JEO, Marshall K, Notenbaert A, Ojango JMK, Okeyo AM. Pro-poor animal improvement and breeding–what can science do? Lives. Sci. 2011; 136, 15–28.

10. Bruford MW, Ginja C, Hoffmann I, Joost S, Orozco-terWengel P, Alberto FJ, et al. Prospects and challenges for the conservation of farm animal genomic resources, 2015–2025. Front. Genet. 2015; 6, 314.

11. Sunderland TC. Food security: why is biodiversity important?. Int. Forest. Rev. 2011; 13(3), 265–274.

12. FAO. The second report on the state of the world's animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, edited by Scherf BD, Pilling D. FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Assessments. Rome, Italy; 2015. [cited 2018 Nov 12] available from:

13. Sokouri DP, Loukou NE, Yapi-Gnaoré CV, Mondeil F, Gnangbe F. Caractérisation phénotypique des bovins à viande (Bos taurus et Bos indicus) au centre (Bouaké) et au nord (Korhogo) de la Côte d’Ivoire. AGRI. 2007; 40, 43–53.

14. N'goran KE, Yapi Gnaoré CV, Fantodji TA, N'goran A. Caractérisation phénotypique et performances des Vaches laitières de trois régions de Côte d'Ivoire. Arch. Zootec. 2008; 57 (220), 415–426. [cited 2018 Jun 17] available from:

15. Yakubu A, Idahor KO, Haruna H, Wheto M, Amusan S. Multivariate analysis of phenotypic differentiation in bunaji and Sokoto gudali cattle. Acta. Agric. Slov. 2010; 96 (2), 75–80.

16. Traoré A, Koudandé DO, Fernandez I, Soudré A, Granda V, Alvarez I, et al. Geographical assessment of body measurements and qualitative traits in West African cattle. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 2015; 47(8), 1505–1513. doi: 10.1007/s11250-015-0891-7 26224600

17. Álvarez I, Traoré A, Fernández I, Lecomte T, Soudré A, Kaboré A, et al. Assessing introgression of Sahelian zebu genes into native Bos taurus breeds in Burkina Faso. Mol. Biol. Rep. 2014; 41, 3745–3754. doi: 10.1007/s11033-014-3239-x 24532141

18. Ndiaye NP, Sow A, Dayo GK, Ndiaye S, Sawadogo GJ, Sembène M. Genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships in local cattle breeds of Senegal based on autosomal microsatellite markers. Vet world. 2015; 8(8), 994. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2015.994-1005 27047188

19. Álvarez I, Pérez Pardal L, Traoré A, Koudandé DO, Fernández I, Soudré A, et al. Differences in genetic structure assessed using Y‐chromosome and mitochondrial DNA markers do not shape the contributions to diversity in African sires. J Anim Breed Genet. 2017; 134(5), 393–404. doi: 10.1111/jbg.12278 28464302

20. Grema M, Traoré A, Issa M, Hamani M, Abdou M, Soudré A, et al. Short tandem repeat (STR) based genetic diversity and relationship of indigenous Niger cattle. Arch Tierzucht. 2017a; 60(4), 399–408.

21. Kim SJ, Ka S, Ha JW, Kim J, Yoo D, Kim K, et al. Cattle genome-wide analysis reveals genetic signatures in trypanotolerant N’Dama. BMC genomics. 2017; 18(1), 371. doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-3742-2 28499406

22. Jabbar MA, Swallow BM, Rege JEO. Incorporation of farmer knowledge and preferences in designing breeding policy and conservation strategy for domestic animals. Outlook Agr. 1999; 28(4), 239–243.

23. Delgado JV, Barba C, Camacho ME, Sereno FTPS, Martinez A, Vega-Pla JL. Livestock characterisation in Spain. AGRI. 2001; 29, 7–18.

24. Lanari MR, Taddeo H, Domingo E, Centeno MP, Gallo L. Phenotypic differentiation of exterior traits in local Criollo goat population in Patagonia (Argentina). Archiv. Tierzucht. Dummerstorf. 2003; 46, 347–356.

25. FAO. Phenotypic Characterization of Animal Genetic Resources. Animal Production and Health Guidelines 2012a; N° 11, FAO, Rome, Italy. [cited 2018 Jun 12] available from:

26. Dossa LH, Wollny C, Gauly M. Spatial variation in goat populations from Benin as revealed by multivariate analysis of morphological traits. Small Rumin. Res. 2007; 73, 150–159.

27. Ayantunde A A, Duncan AJ, van Wijk MT, Thorne P. Role of herbivores in sustainable agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Animal, 2018; 12(s2), 199–209.

28. Boutrais J. The Fulani and cattle breeds: crossbreeding and heritage strategies. Africa 2007; 77(1), 18–36.

29. Krätli S. Cattle breeding, complexity and mobility in a structurally unpredictable environment: the WoDaaBe herders of Niger. Nomadic Peoples. 2008; 12(1), 11–41.

30. Holloway L, Morris C, Gilna B, Gibbs D. Choosing and rejecting cattle and sheep: changing discourses and practices of (de) selection in pedigree livestock breeding. Agr. Hum. Values. 2011; 28(4), 533–547.

31. Kugonza DR, Nabasirye M, Hanotte O, Mpairwe D, Okeyo AM. Pastoralists' indigenous selection criteria and other breeding practices of the long-horned Ankole cattle in Uganda. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 2012; 44(3), 557–565. doi: 10.1007/s11250-011-9935-9 21805229

32. Brown T. The N'Dama Dilemma: Ethnogenetics and Small Ruminant Breed Dynamics in the Tsetse Zone, the Gambia. Outlook Agri. 2015; 44(3), 173–178.

33. Yakubu A, Ogah DM, Idahor KO. Principal component analysis of the morphostructural indices of White Fulani cattle. Trakia J. Sci. 2009; 7, 67–73. [cited 2018 Jun 12] available from:

34. Okpeku M, Yakubu A, Peters S, Ozoje M, Ikeobi C, Adebambo O, et al. Application of multivariate principal component analysis to morphological characterization of indigenous goats in Southern Nigeria. Acta Agric. Slov. 2011; 98(2), 101.

35. Traoré A, Tamboura HH, Kaboré A, Royo LJ, Fernández I, Álvarez I, et al. Multivariate characterization of morphological traits in Burkina Faso sheep. Small Rumin. Res. 2008; 80, 62–67.

36. Yakubu A, Akinyemi MO. An evaluation of sexual size dimorphism in Uda sheep using multifactorial discriminant analysis. Acta. Agr. Scand. A-An. 2010; 60(2), 74–78.

37. Birteeb PT, Peters SO, Yakubu A, Adeleke MA, Ozoje MO. Multivariate characterisation of the phenotypic traits of Djallonke and Sahel sheep in Northern Ghana. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 2012; 45(1), 267–274. doi: 10.1007/s11250-012-0211-4 22710941

38. Kefena E, Dessie T, Han JL, Kurtu MY, Rosenbom S, Beja-Pereira A. Morphological diversities and ecozones of Ethiopian horse populations. Anim. Genet. Resour. 2012; 50, 1–12.

39. Akoègninou A, Van der Burg WJ, Van Der Masen LJG. Flore analytique du Bénin. Wageningen: éditions Backhuys Publishers; 2006.

40. INSAE (Institut National de la Statistique et de l'Analyse Economique). RGPH4 : Que retenir des effectifs de population en 2013; 2015 [cited 2018 Nov 17] available from:

41. FAOSTAT, 2017. Country STAT-Benin/Production/ Répartition des effectifs d'animaux vivants par année, Niveau administratif 2. [cited 2018 Nov 30] available from:

42. Vapnek J, Chapman M S. Legislative and regulatory options for animal welfare. FAO Legislative Studies No. 104. 2010. [cited 2019 Apr 19] available from:

43. Galal S, Boyazoglu J, Hammond K, Leitch H, Scherf B D, Galal S. et al. (2001). Preparation of the first report on the state of the world’s animal genetic resources: Guidelines for the development of country reports. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy. [cited 2019 Jul 14] available from:

44. Blench R. Traditional livestock breeds: Geographical distribution and dynamics in relation to the ecology of West Africa (Vol. 67). London, UK: Overseas Development Institute. 1999. [cited 2018 Dec 15] available from:

45. Boutrais J. Zébus, mouches tsé-tsé et techniciens en Adamaoua camerounais. In Robineau C. (Ed. SC.), Les terrains du développement; approches pluri-disciplinaires des économies du Sud, Paris, Orstom, Didactiques, 1992; 235–252. [cited 2018 Dec 04] available from:

46. Belli P, Turini J, Harouna A, Garba IA, Pistocchini E, Zecchini M. Critères de sélection des bovins laitiers par les éleveurs autour de Niamey au Niger. Rev. Élev. méd. vét. pays trop. 2008; 61(1), 51–56.

47. Eruola AO, Sholademi AA, Ufoegbune GC, Makinde AA, Iposu SO. Interactive effects of season, breed and grazing location on lactation yield in a tropical wet-and–dry climate of Nigeria. World J. Agric. Sci. 2013; 1(11), 318–322.

48. Djedjebi TS. Pastoralistes et la ville au Bénin: Livelihoods en questionnement. Doctorate thesis. University of Leiden, The Netherlands; 2009.

49. Dossa LH, Vanvanhossou FUS. The indigenous Somba cattle of the hilly Atacora region in North-West Benin: threats and opportunities for its sustainable use. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 2016; 48(2), 349–359. doi: 10.1007/s11250-015-0958-5 26590609

50. Hall SJ, Gnaho LK, Meghen C. Une enquête sur la race bovine Somba au Bénin. Rev. élev. méd. vét. pays trop. 1995; 48(1), 77–83.

51. Van Driel A. Sharing a Valley. The changing relations between agriculturalists and pastoralists in the Niger Valley of Benin. Research Report no 64 Leiden: African Studies Centre, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; 2002.

52. Aboagye GS, Tawah CL, Rege JEO. Shorthorn cattle of West and Central Africa. III. Physical, adaptative and special genetic characteristics. World Anim. Rev. 1994; 78: 22–32. [cited 2018 Nov 14] available from:

53. Tamou C, de Boer IJ, Ripoll-Bosch R, Oosting SJ. Understanding roles and functions of cattle breeds for pastoralists in Benin. Lives. Sci. 2018; 210, 129–136.

54. DE-MAEP (Direction de l’Elevage). Rapport annuel 2003. MAEP, Cotonou Bénin; 2004. [cited 2018 Jan 17] available from:

55. DAGRIS (Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System). Breeds in Benin; 2018. [cited 2018 Jul 18] available from:

56. Moazami-Goudarzi K, Belemsaga DMA, Ceriotti G, Laloë D, Fagbohoun F, Kouagou N’ T, et al. Caractérisation de la race bovine Somba à l’aide de marqueurs moléculaires. Rev. élev. méd. vét. pays trop. 2001; 54 (2), 129–138.

57. Desta TT, Ayalew W, Hedge BP. Breed and trait preferences of Sheko cattle keeper in southern Ethiopia. Trop. Anim. Health Prod. 2011; 43, 851–856. doi: 10.1007/s11250-010-9772-2 21181495

58. Traoré A, Álvarez I, Fernández I, Pérez-Pardal L, Kaboré A, Ouédraogo-Sanou GMS, et al. Ascertaining gene flow patterns in livestock populations of developing countries: a case study in Burkina Faso goat. BMC Genet. 2012; 13(1), 35.

59. Alphonsus C, Akpa GN, Barje PP, Finangwai HI, Adamu BD. Comparative evaluation of linear udder and body conformation traits of bunaji and Friesian x bunaji cows. World J. Life Sci. Med. 2012; 2 (4), 134–140.

60. Pelican M. Friendship among pastoral fulbe in northwest Cameroon. Afr. Study Monogr. 2012; 33(3). 165–188.

61. Ogunsanmi AO, Ikede BO, Akpavie SO. Effects of management, season, vegetation zone and breed on the prevalence of bovine trypanosomiasis in South Western Nigeria. Isr. J. Vet. Med. 2000; 55(2), 1−7.

62. Talabi AO, Otesile EB, Joshua RA, Oladosu LA. Clinical observations on three Nigerian Zebu cattle breeds following experimental Trypanosoma congolense infection. Bull. Anim. Hlth. Prod. Afr. 2012; 60 (2), 187−192.

63. Youssao AKI, Ahissou A, Toure Z. Introduction de la race bovine N’Dama à la Ferme Elevage de l’Okpara au Bénin. Quelques performances zootechniques. Anim. Genet. Resour. 2000; 27, 17–25.

64. Porter V. A world dictionary of livestock breeds, types and varieties. 5th ed. CABI Publishing. Wallingford. 2002.

65. Porter V, Alderson L, Hall S, Sponenberg DP. Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding. 1st ed. CABI Publishing. Wallingford; 2016.

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 9

Nejčtenější v tomto čísle

Tomuto tématu se dále věnují…


Zvyšte si kvalifikaci online z pohodlí domova

Imunitní trombocytopenie (ITP) u dospělých pacientů
nový kurz
Autoři: prof. MUDr. Tomáš Kozák, Ph.D., MBA

Pěnová skleroterapie
Autoři: MUDr. Marek Šlais

White paper - jak vidíme optimální péči o zubní náhrady
Autoři: MUDr. Jindřich Charvát, CSc.

Hemofilie - série kurzů

Faktory ovlivňující léčbu levotyroxinem

Všechny kurzy
Kurzy Doporučená témata