In DepthANCIENT DNA

The thoroughly bred horse

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1439
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1439

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Summary

From Lipizzaners that perform precise airs to Clydesdales that haul beer wagons, today's horses are all descendants of wild animals tamed some 5500 years ago on the steppes of Asia. Now, genomes from an ancient stallion and mare reveal how domestication transformed the horse genome, resulting in the beautiful and powerful animals of today—but also leaving horses with flaws of personality and health not found in their wild ancestors. By comparing the ancient genomes with modern ones, researchers identified genes that endowed modern breeds with speed, strength, the ability to learn, and a panoply of coat patterns. But they also reveal the genetic toll of thousands of years of inbreeding.

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