Author(s): Bowling AT, Del Valle A, Bowling M
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Abstract Through DNA sequence comparisons of a mitochondrial D-loop hypervariable region, we investigated matrilineal diversity for Arabian horses in the United States. Sixty-two horses were tested. From published pedigrees they traced in the maternal line to 34 mares acquired primarily in the mid to late 19th century from nomadic Bedouin tribes. Compared with the reference sequence (GenBank X79547), these samples showed 27 haplotypes with altogether 31 base substitution sites within 397 bp of sequence. Based on examination of pedigrees from a random sampling of 200 horses in current studbooks of the Arabian Horse Registry of America, we estimated that this study defined the expected mtDNA haplotypes for at least 89\% of Arabian horses registered in the US. The reliability of the studbook recorded maternal lineages of Arabian pedigrees was demonstrated by haplotype concordance among multiple samplings in 14 lines. Single base differences observed within two maternal lines were interpreted as representing alternative fixations of past heteroplasmy. The study also demonstrated the utility of mtDNA sequence studies to resolve historical maternity questions without access to biological material from the horses whose relationship was in question, provided that representatives of the relevant female lines were available for comparison. The data call into question the traditional assumption that Arabian horses of the same strain necessarily share a common maternal ancestry.
This article was published in Anim Genet
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species