European domestic horses originated in two holocene refugia
do Mar Oom, M
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
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Warmuth, V., Eriksson, A., Bower, M., Cañon, J., Cothran, G., Distl, O., Glowatzki-Mullis, M., et al. (2011). European domestic horses originated in two holocene refugia. PLoS ONE, 6 (3), e18194-e18194. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018194
The role of European wild horses in horse domestication is poorly understood. While the fossil record for wild horses in Europe prior to horse domestication is scarce, there have been suggestions that wild populations from various European regions might have contributed to the gene pool of domestic horses. To distinguish between regions where domestic populations are mainly descended from local wild stock and those where horses were largely imported, we investigated patterns of genetic diversity in 24 European horse breeds typed at 12 microsatellite loci. The distribution of high levels of genetic diversity in Europe coincides with the distribution of predominantly open landscapes prior to domestication, as suggested by simulation-based vegetation reconstructions, with breeds from Iberia and the Caspian Sea region having significantly higher genetic diversity than breeds from central Europe and the UK, which were largely forested at the time the first domestic horses appear there. Our results suggest that not only the Eastern steppes, but also the Iberian Peninsula provided refugia for wild horses in the Holocene, and that the genetic contribution of these wild populations to local domestic stock may have been considerable. In contrast, the consistently low levels of diversity in central Europe and the UK suggest that domestic horses in these regions largely derive from horses that were imported from the Eastern refugium, the Iberian refugium, or both.
Animals, Biological Evolution, Breeding, Ecosystem, Europe, Gene Pool, Genetic Variation, Geography, Horses, Microsatellite Repeats, Middle East, Time Factors
This work was partially supported by a research studentship from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/E527604/1) and a PhD studentship from the German Academic Exchange Service (D/07/44562) to VW, and a Leverhulme Trust project grant (F/09 757/B) to MAB. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018194
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/265371
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