Genetic diversity in American horse populations
Domestic horses were first brought to America from the Iberian Peninsula during the second voyage of Columbus in 1493 from which the Criollo horse populations descend. During the years genetic hybridization with other breeds has taken place.
Following arrival to the Caribbean islands, horses rapidly spread through the Americas. Direct descendants of horses brought to America since the arrival of Columbus are generally known as Criollos and are found in most American countries. In this study the genetic diversity between Criollo and Iberian breeds was investigated to obtain a clearer understanding regarding breed relationships, genetic structure and breed influences in Criollo horse populations.
In this study 50 horse breeds were genotyped, representing Criollo populations from 12 American countries, the Iberian Peninsula, one breed from France, one breed from Morocco and two cosmopolitan horse breeds.
The results identify five genetic clusters: Celtic, Iberian, North American with Thoroughbred influence, Colombian breeds, other Criollo breeds. Where the other Criollo breeds had the closest genetic relationship with breeds originating from the Iberian Peninsula. The results indicate that Criollo breeds share a common ancestry, but each breed has its own identity.
> From: Cortés et al., Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 134 (2012) 340-350. All rights reserved to Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Click here for the online summary.