Research Article

Genetic diversity and population structure of Kazakh horses (Equus caballus) inferred from mtDNA sequences

Published: October 05, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(4): gmr8618 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/gmr.15048618
Cite this Article:
(2016). Genetic diversity and population structure of Kazakh horses (Equus caballus) inferred from mtDNA sequences. Genet. Mol. Res. 15(4): gmr8618. https://doi.org/10.4238/gmr.15048618
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Abstract

The Kazakh horse is an important old horse breed in Xinjiang. They have contributed greatly to the breeding and improvement of other local horse breeds, yet their genetic diversity and population structure are not well understood. In the present study, we evaluated the genetic diversity of Kazakh horses and their relationship with other horse breeds using the mtDNA D-loop region, Cyt b gene, and a DNA fragment (nps 7974-9963, containing COX3, tRNA-Gly, ND3, and tRNA-Arg). A total of 130 Kazakh horses from 8 populations in China and Kazakhstan were analyzed. A total of 88 haplotypes (haplotype diversity: 0.9895) were identified, in which 3 haplotypes were shared by groups in the two countries. In a median-joining network, 6 haplogroups were found, in which most haplogroups included haplotypes from different populations. Neighbor-joining analysis revealed similar results in that haplotypes in different populations were admixed in most of the 6 clusters. In conclusion, a high level of genetic diversity was found in the Kazakh horses. However, no clear correspondence between haplogroups and geographic origin and no significant differentiation between populations in the two countries were observed. This might have resulted from the frequent contact between the two countries through the Silk Road in the past, or due to long-term outcrossing and hybridization with the introduced horses.

The Kazakh horse is an important old horse breed in Xinjiang. They have contributed greatly to the breeding and improvement of other local horse breeds, yet their genetic diversity and population structure are not well understood. In the present study, we evaluated the genetic diversity of Kazakh horses and their relationship with other horse breeds using the mtDNA D-loop region, Cyt b gene, and a DNA fragment (nps 7974-9963, containing COX3, tRNA-Gly, ND3, and tRNA-Arg). A total of 130 Kazakh horses from 8 populations in China and Kazakhstan were analyzed. A total of 88 haplotypes (haplotype diversity: 0.9895) were identified, in which 3 haplotypes were shared by groups in the two countries. In a median-joining network, 6 haplogroups were found, in which most haplogroups included haplotypes from different populations. Neighbor-joining analysis revealed similar results in that haplotypes in different populations were admixed in most of the 6 clusters. In conclusion, a high level of genetic diversity was found in the Kazakh horses. However, no clear correspondence between haplogroups and geographic origin and no significant differentiation between populations in the two countries were observed. This might have resulted from the frequent contact between the two countries through the Silk Road in the past, or due to long-term outcrossing and hybridization with the introduced horses.