D-Loop of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is widely used to investigate the chicken populations history, origin, migration or evolution. No previous genetic data is available on the chicken from the Arabian Peninsula. In this study, a 420 bp fragment of D-Loop of Mitochondrial (mtDNA) was used to estimate the genetic diversity and origins of local chickens in Arabian Peninsula (including the isle of Socotra) and Somalia. From 207 sequences (175 from the current study and 32 from GenBank), we retrieved a total of 27 haplotypes with an average haplotype diversity of 0.7588 (±0.0300). From 5 chicken populations in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Socotra Island and Somalia, we revealed 3 distinct clades; clade E, a likely Indian subcontinent origin as the commonest clade in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Socotra Island; clade C, a Southeast Asia origin appeared mainly in Somalia and clade A, Southeast and/or East Asia origin appeared in few individuals. We attributed the wide presence of clade E to the seafaring trade and migration routes around Indian Ocean that has linked Arabian Peninsula with Indus Valley (center of origin). The results of Mantel test indicated that the relationship between chickens of clade E in India, Arabia, Northeast Africa, East Africa and Southeast Africa is subjected to Isolation by Distance. Our findings can provide other evidences to the role of Arabian Peninsula in the ancient historical maritime and terrestrial contacts between Asia and Africa, and indicated the presence of large maternal genetic diversity in the region, which could potentially support genetic improvement programs.


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