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J Vet Med Sci. 2012 Feb;74(2):161-6. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Genetic characterization of the endangered Kiso horse using 31 microsatellite DNAs.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Applied Biological Sciences, Gifu University, 1–1 Yanagido, Gifu 501–1193, Japan.


In order to contribute to conservation of the endangered Kiso horse, we clarified their genetic information using 31 microsatellite DNAs, and genotyped 125 horses, 83% of the existing breed. First, we clarified the current status of the horses. The horses were confirmed to have experienced rapid loss of population causing a bottleneck, and their effective population size was much smaller than their census size. Moreover, the number of alleles (6.3), observed heterozygosity (0.674), and expected heterozygosity (0.662) were in the same range as other endangered horses all over the world. Therefore, although their inbreeding level was not so severe (F(is): -0.017), the Kiso horse is surely one of the endangered. Second, we obtained genetic information of individuals. This information allowed us to understand the genetic distance of individuals, and might help in development of a reproductive strategy concerning the genetic distance between the mating pairs. Moreover, there appeared to be 4 subpopulations of Kiso horse, and this result was in good agreement with their historical background. Third, we confirmed that the parentage test for identification using the 31 microsatellite DNAs was highly reliable (probability of exclusion: 0.999999993). This identification increases the reliability of stud certification, and is also helpful for effective management. Understanding the genetic diversity within the population and the relationships among individuals is important to ensuring effective management for maintenance of genetic variation, and this study may help in conservation of the endangered Kiso horse.

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