Two bovine species contribute to the Indonesian livestock, zebu (Bos indicus) and banteng (Bos javanicus), respectively. Although male hybrid offspring of these species is not fertile, Indonesian cattle breeds are supposed to be of mixed species origin. However, this has not been documented and is so far only supported by preliminary molecular analysis.
METHODS AND FINDINGS:
Analysis of mitochondrial, Y-chromosomal and microsatellite DNA showed a banteng introgression of 10-16% in Indonesian zebu breeds. East-Javanese Madura and Galekan cattle have higher levels of autosomal banteng introgression (20-30%) and combine a zebu paternal lineage with a predominant (Madura) or even complete (Galekan) maternal banteng origin. Two Madura bulls carried taurine Y-chromosomal haplotypes, presumably of French Limousin origin. In contrast, we did not find evidence for zebu introgression in five populations of the Bali cattle, a domestic form of the banteng.
Because of their unique species composition Indonesian cattle represent a valuable genetic resource, which potentially may also be exploited in other tropical regions.