Genome Diversity and the Origin of the Arabian Horse

Elissa Cosgrove , Raheleh Sadeghi , Florencia Schlamp , Heather Holl , Mohammad Moradi-Shahrbabak , Seyed Reza Miraei-Ashtiani , Salma Abdalla , Ben Shykind , Mats Troedsson , Monika Stefaniuk-Szmukier , Anil Prabhu , Stefania Bucca , Monika Bugno-Poniewierska , Barbara Wallner , Joel Malek , Donald Miller , Andrew Clark , Douglas Antczak , Samantha Brooks


The Arabian horse, one of the world’s oldest breeds of any domesticated animal, is characterized by natural beauty, graceful movement, athletic endurance, and, as a result of its development in the arid Middle East, the ability to thrive in a hot, dry environment. Here we studied 378 Arabian horses from 12 countries using equine single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays and whole-genome re-sequencing to examine hypotheses about genomic diversity, population structure, and the relationship of the Arabian to other horse breeds. We identified a high degree of genetic variation and complex ancestry in Arabian horses from the Middle East region. Also, contrary to popular belief, we could detect no significant genomic contribution of the Arabian breed to the Thoroughbred racehorse, including Y chromosome ancestry. However, we found strong evidence for recent interbreeding of Thoroughbreds with Arabians used for flat-racing competitions. Genetic signatures suggestive of selective sweeps across the Arabian breed contain candidate genes for combating oxidative damage during exercise, and within the “Straight Egyptian” subgroup, for facial morphology. Overall, our data support an origin of the Arabian horse in the Middle East, no evidence for reduced global genetic diversity across the breed, and unique genetic adaptations for both physiology and conformation.
Author Elissa Cosgrove - Cornell University
Elissa Cosgrove,,
, Raheleh Sadeghi - Cornell University, University of Tehran
Raheleh Sadeghi,,
, Florencia Schlamp - Cornell University
Florencia Schlamp,,
, Heather Holl - University of Florida
Heather Holl,,
, Mohammad Moradi-Shahrbabak - University of Tehran
Mohammad Moradi-Shahrbabak,,
, Seyed Reza Miraei-Ashtiani - University of Tehran
Seyed Reza Miraei-Ashtiani,,
, Salma Abdalla - Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
Salma Abdalla,,
, Ben Shykind - Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
Ben Shykind,,
, Mats Troedsson - University of Kentucky, Equine Veterinary Medical Center, Member of Qatar Foundation
Mats Troedsson,,
, Monika Stefaniuk-Szmukier (FoAS / Department of Animal Reproduction, Anatomy and Genomics)
Monika Stefaniuk-Szmukier,,
- Department of Animal Reproduction, Anatomy and Genomics
et al.`
Journal seriesScientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.6
Article number9702
ASJC Classification1000 Multidisciplinary
Languageen angielski
LicenseJournal (articles only); author's original; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); after publication
Genome Diversity and the Origin of the Arabian Horse of 17-06-2020
4,39 MB
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.401; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 4.011 (2) - 2018=4.525 (5)
Citation count*
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FinansowanieThis study was made possible by National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) grant 6-1303-4-023 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation). Te statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors. Support was also received from Te Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research, Arabian Horse Foundation, Animal Health Foundation, Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Foundation, Inc. (DFA), and a Meinig Family Investigator award (AGC).
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