Tags: horse | dna | study | domestication

Horse DNA Study Helps Explain Domestication of Equines

By    |   Tuesday, 16 December 2014 08:44 PM

Researchers have unveiled DNA changes that help explain the domestication of horses.

The study, released Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that the domestication of horses was made possible by 125 genes, Reuters reported.

Geneticist Ludovic Orlando of the Natural History Museum of Denmark led the study, which examined how ancient breeders selected horses for traits related to skeletal muscles, balance, coordination, and cardiac strength.

“We provide the most extensive list of gene candidates that have been favored by humans following the domestication of horses. This list is fascinating as it includes a number of genes involved in the development of muscle and bones. This probably reveals the genes that helped utilizing horses for transportation,” Beth Shapiro, head of the UCSC Paleogenomics Lab, said in a press release.

Gene variants linked to social behavior, learning, fear response, and agreeableness also were more common in domesticated horses, the study found.

“Perhaps even more exciting as it represents the hallmark of animal domestication, we identify genes controlling animal behavior and the response to fear. These genes could have been the key for turning wild animals into more docile domesticated forms,” Orlando said in the statement.

The study was led by the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with scientists from 11 international universities.

The Przewalski's horse population from Mongolia is the only surviving truly wild horse population and is descended from 13 individuals, the press release said. Researchers compared the genomes of ancient horses dating between 16,000 and 43,000 years ago with those of the Przewalski's horse and five breeds of domesticated horses.

The scientists also discovered the cost of domestication being a large number of negative gene mutations in modern horse breeds, Bio & Tech Insights reported.

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Researchers have unveiled DNA changes that help explain the domestication of horses.
horse, dna, study, domestication
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 08:44 PM
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