Diversity and effective population size of four horse breeds from microsatellite DNA markers in South-Central Mexico
Abstract. The South-Central region of Mexico has experienced a sizeable introduction of purebred horses for recreational aims. A study was designed to assess effective population sizes and genetic diversity and to verify the genetic integrity of four horse breeds. Using a 12-microsatellite panel, Quarter Horse, Azteca, Thoroughbred and Creole (CRL) horses were sampled and analysed for diversity and genetic structure. Genetic diversity parameters showed high numbers of heterozygous horses but small effective population sizes in all breeds. Population structure results suggested some degree of admixture of CRL with the other reference breeds. The highly informative microsatellite panel allowed the verification of diversity in introduced horse populations and the confirmation of small effective population sizes, which suggests a risk for future breed integrity.