What's All the Fuss with San Clemente DNA?
In the past it's been a little difficult for the San Clemente Island Goat Association to express how SCI goat DNA is fantastically unique. Scientific papers pending approval, copyright laws, etc. bound us to gossip and rumor when deep down we knew. . . THESE GOATS ARE DIFFERENT. Most of your goats' grandparents felt a little tug one day as their owners nationwide pulled hairs and mailed them in. Dr. Sponenberg and the Livestock Conservancy took it from there. San Clemente Island goats are not "sort of different," but EXTRAORDINARILY different. In DNA terms, they might as well be from Mars.
Before you page down to the fun graphics that show this explicitly and colorfully, and make it all easy to understand, please HALT. What you are about to see is WHY we need to keep SCI goats 100% purebred.
Hopefully it'll be pretty clear how adding a 99% goat to the gene pool would totally screw up our entire UNIQUE gene pool.
The "Oh, it's OK, it's almost 100%" doesn't cut it. This breed is so unique that a breath of a percent of another breed, ANY other breed, ANY percentage, would change our entire breed DNA. To some, a "grade up" that brought a goat to 98% or 99% might seem pretty much the same as a goat that was 100%. Might be OK for some breeds. Not for this one. People who think that SCI's can grade up? They Just. Don't. Get. It. So here we go:
From our Portuguese and Spanish friends (Genetic diversity and patterns of population structure in Creole goats from the Americas by C. Ginja*, et al). . . San Clementes are under "SCL." Compare their color with the others. Now look how homogenized (genetically) the Spanish, Pygmy, Myotonic, Saanens, and Alpines are. Oh hold on. . . their origins are Spain, USA, Europe, and Africa? And their DNA all looks the same? Now perhaps you can see how just a little, tiny bit of genetic influence from another breed could throw off our entire breed DNA.
From Brian Sayre, mapping the goat genome. . . We love Brian. He's mapping THE Goat Genome, and is using SCI goat DNA to do it. He works with Virginia State University, and the University of Maryland and the USDA are also in on this. The goat used to map the Goat Genome is a straight San Clemente Island New Hampshire, now deceased (old age). Brian is very fun when he comes to SCI goat parties, and keeps SCI breeders educated.
Brian's goat map below shows very clearly how unique the SCI goat DNA is:
And if you want the latest DNA info that sets SCI goats as a COMPLETELY different animal than any other goat, read this:
"Genetic diversity and patterns of population structure in Creole goats from the Americas" by C. Ginja*, et al.
We are NOT close to other breeds. Not at all. A 98% San Clemente Island goat is SO genetically different than a purebred 100% San Clemente Island goat that our breeders take a stand on crossbreeding. We do NOT accept anything less than 100% SCI as purebred. We understand that accepting anything less than 100% would change the genetics of a breed that we are stewarding TO SAVE THEIR GENETICS.
We're not saving a "look." We're saving a super-endangered gene pool, which is proven to NOT need crossbreeding or outcrossing to survive healthfully. No inbreeding depression here!
The San Clemente Island Goat Association strives hard to conserve 100% purebred San Clemente Island goats, and we appreciate the teamwork that it takes from our breeders to keep them going!