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J Anim Breed Genet. 2011 Oct;128(5):394-406. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0388.2011.00932.x. Epub 2011 May 18.

Genetic diversity in an indigenous horse breed: implications for mating strategies and the control of future inbreeding.

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Berne University of Applied Sciences, Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen, Switzerland.


The Franches-Montagnes is an indigenous Swiss horse breed, with approximately 2500 foalings per year. The stud book is closed, and no introgression from other horse breeds was conducted since 1998. Since 2006, breeding values for 43 different traits (conformation, performance and coat colour) are estimated with a best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) multiple trait animal model. In this study, we evaluated the genetic diversity for the breeding population, considering the years from 2003 to 2008. Only horses with at least one progeny during that time span were included. Results were obtained based on pedigree information as well as from molecular markers. A series of software packages were screened to combine best the best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) methodology with optimal genetic contribution theory. We looked for stallions with highest breeding values and lowest average relationship to the dam population. Breeding with such stallions is expected to lead to a selection gain, while lowering the future increase in inbreeding within the breed.

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