Articles | Volume 60, issue 2
Original study
08 Jun 2017
Original study |  | 08 Jun 2017

Diversity and effective population size of four horse breeds from microsatellite DNA markers in South-Central Mexico

José Fernando Vázquez-Armijo, Gaspar Manuel Parra-Bracamonte, Miguel Abraham Velazquez, Ana María Sifuentes-Rincón, José Luis Tinoco-Jaramillo, Pascuala Ambriz-Morales, Williams Arellano-Vera, and Victor Ricardo Moreno-Medina

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.

Short summary
This study assesses genetic diversity and population structure of Quarter Horse, Azteca, Thoroughbred and Creole horses, frequently used for horse dancing competitions in traditional regional festivities. Since most animals in the studied area are used as breeders, the results support the improvement of management strategies, including periodical assessment of these populations to ensure acceptable population sizes and breed integrity, and documenting genetic flow and reproductive management.