Genetic diversity in the Polish Konik horse
Polish Konik horses were derived from extinct Tarpan horses as well as Tarpan-like horses. The population was closed in 1985 and was one of the first horse breeds conserved in the world with conservation programs starting all the way back in 1936.
From the perspective of conservation strategy, genetic population monitoring is considered necessary. The current breeding scheme of the Polish Konik is aimed at minimizing the inbreeding rate in dam lines and the whole population. The aim of the study was to determine genetic diversity in the current Polish Konik population.
The study was executed by carrying out a pedigree analysis for the whole Polish Konik population. Next to that basic molecular parameters were estimated. DNA was taken from 94 horses from 16 different dam lines.
The results show that the population has a satisfactory genetic diversity. Next to that, a relatively low inbreeding level was estimated. However, a majority of dam lines are not considerably genetically differentiated. This means that a revision of the breeding strategy is advised.
Expert opinion by Anouk van Breukelen
Advised is to use a conservation program based on both pedigree and molecular information to preserve genetic diversity in the mother lines and the population.
> From: Szwaczkowski et al., Canadian Journal of Animal Science 96 (2016) 570-580. All rights reserved to NRC Research Press. Click here for the online summary.