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Reprod Domest Anim. 2006 Aug;41(4):280-5.

Development of the Lipizzan horse breed.

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  • 1Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The development and a brief history of the Lipizzan horse breed are reviewed. The contribution of several breeds, some of them already extinct, to the development of the Lipizzan horse, gives it a special status representing an important gene pool. This well-documented breed is a part of the common European natural and cultural heritage. Breeding practices establishing stallion and mare family lines as well as availability of pedigrees are described. Molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite data allowed us to analyse the structure of the Lipizzan population, to estimate genetic variability within the population and to test the reliability of the pedigree data. DNA sequence analysis of the mtDNA control region confirmed relative high variability of the gene pool, containing majority of mtDNA haplotypes found in horse populations worldwide. Microsatellite analysis showed that the level of heterozygosity in the Lipizzan population is comparable with the heterozygosity in other populations. The fact that majority of the Lipizzan population is bred on eight state studs in the Central and Eastern Europe contributes to the structuring of the population which results in three clusters: classical cluster, represented by studs Lipica, Piber and Monterotondo, transition cluster, represented by studs Szilvasvarad, Djakovo and Topolćianky and eastern cluster represented by studs Beclean and Fagaras. The molecular markers also allowed verification of pedigree data, and the rough estimation of pedigree errors was about 10%.

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