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Genetic stability in the Icelandic horse breed
- Campana, M. G., Stock, F., Barrett, E., Benecke, N., Barker, G. W. W., Seetah, K., Bower, M. A.
- Animal genetics 2012 v.43 no.4 pp. 447-449
- animal breeding, color, disasters, genes, genetic stability, horse breeds, horses, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear genome, nucleotide sequences, population dynamics, population size, risk, Iceland
- Despite the Icelandic horse enjoying great popularity worldwide, the breed’s gene pool is small. This is because of a millennium of isolation on Iceland, population crashes caused by natural disasters and selective breeding. Populations with small effective population sizes are considered to be more at risk of selection pressures such as disease and environmental change. By analysing historic and modern mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear coat colour genes, we examined real‐time population dynamics in the Icelandic horse over the last 150 years. Despite the small gene pool of this breed, we found that the effective population size and genetic profile of the Icelandic horse have remained stable over the studied time period.