Genetic analysis of maternal and paternal lineages in Kabardian horses by uniparental molecular markers
Studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as well as the non-recombining part of the Y chromosome help to understand the origin and distribution of maternal and paternal lineages. The Kabardian horse from Northern Caucasia which is well-known for strength, stamina and endurance in distance riding has a large gap in its breeding documentation especially in the recent past. A 309 bp fragment of the mitochondrial D-loop (156 Kabardian horses) and six mutations in Y chromosome (49 Kabardian stallions), respectively, were analyzed to get a better insight into breeding history, phylogenetic relationship to related breeds, maternal and paternal diversity and genetic structure. We found a high mitochondrial diversity represented by 64 D-loop haplotypes out of 14 haplogroups. The most frequent haplogroups were G (19.5%), L (12.3%), Q (11.7%), and B (11.0%). Although these four haplogroups are also frequently found in Asian riding horses (e.g. Buryat, Kirghiz, Mongolian, Transbaikalian, Tuvinian) the percentage of the particular haplogroups varies sometimes remarkable. In contrast, the obtained haplogroup pattern from Kabardian horse was more similar to that of breeds reared in the Middle East. No specific haplotype cluster was observed in the phylogenetic tree for Kabardian horses. On Kabardian Y chromosome, two mutations were found leading to three haplotypes with a percentage of 36.7% (haplotype HT1), 38.8% (haplotype HT2) and 24.5% (haplotype HT3), respectively. The high mitochondrial and also remarkable paternal diversity of the Kabardian horse is caused by its long history with a widely spread maternal origin and the introduction of Arabian as well as Thoroughbred influenced stallions for improvement. This high genetic diversity provides a good situation for the ongoing breed development and performance selection as well as avoiding inbreeding.
Keywords: Genetic diversity, Mitochondrial DNA, Phylogenetic analysis, Y chromosome