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J Anim Breed Genet. 2006 Dec;123(6):396-8.

Heritability of hair whorl position on the forehead in Konik horses.

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  • 1Department of Animal Behaviour, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jastrzebiec, Poland.


There are studies on the relationship between the position and shape of hair whorls on bovine forehead and phenotypic traits. According to anecdotal beliefs by horse users and handlers, temperamental traits may be related to the position of hair whorls in horses. No previous research on the mechanisms of inheritance of hair whorls has been performed, so the aim of the present study was to determine the heritability of the position of the hair whorl on the forehead of Konik horses. The horses (n = 362) were classified into five groups based on the whorl position on forehead with respect to the top and bottom eye lines. The estimated heritability of hair whorl position was 0.753 (SE = 0.056). Heritability adjusted for the discontinuity of the trait was 0.836. The results show that hair whorl position in Konik Polski horses is highly heritable. The possible relationship between position of hair whorls on the forehead and other morphological traits needs further research and should be interpreted with caution.

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