Genetic study of Arabian horses challenges some common beliefs

Arabian horse by Samantha Brooks, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of animal sciences.

by Cornell University | June 2020

A study involving Arabian horses from 12 countries found that some populations maintained a larger degree of genetic diversity and that the breed did not contribute genetically to the modern-day Thoroughbred, contrary to popular thought.

An international team of scientists was led by the University of Florida’s Samantha Brooks, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of animal sciences; Cornell University’s Doug Antczak, the Dorothy Havemeyer McConville Professor of Equine Medicine at the Baker Institute for Animal Health; and Andy Clark, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor in Cornell’s department of molecular biology and genetics.


“The Arabian horse has a special mystique due to the long recorded history of the breed. Arabian horse breeders, in particular, know their horse’s bloodlines many generations back.” — Samantha Brooks


The group collected and examined DNA samples from 378 Arabian horses from Qatar, Iran, UAE, Poland, USA, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark and Canada. The research, published June 16 in the journal Scientific Reports, was conducted over an 8-year period, beginning in 2014 before Brooks made the move from Cornell to UF. The process was a lot of effort, she said, in part due to traveling to collect the Arabians’ blood and hair samples, as well as natural delays in working with international colleagues to collect and ship other samples.

The samples were anonymized for data analysis purposes, except to note the horse’s location and categorizing them as endurance competition, flat course racing or show horses. The data set was also expanded using information from past studies on other breeds, which included Thoroughbreds, Persian Arabian, Turkemen and Straight Egyptians.

“The Arabian horse has a special mystique due to the long recorded history of the breed,” Brooks said. “Arabian horse breeders, in particular, know their horse’s bloodlines many generations back. What we found was that in the area where this breed originates—likely the near East region, but we don’t know exactly—there’s a healthy level of diversity. This is particularly evident in populations from Bahrain and Syria, which suggests these are some pretty old populations.”

IMAGE SOURCE: JAIDEEP DASWANI

The horse is prized for characteristics like heat tolerance and endurance, as well as its unique appearance, with a dish-shaped facial profile, wide-set eyes, an arched neck and a high tail carriage. It has been exported from its ancestral homeland for centuries, with some modern lineages drawn strictly from these smaller genetic pools, giving the breed a reputation for inbred disorders. While this was true for some groups they tested, Brooks noted, they also found remarkable diversity when considering the breed as a whole.

Brooks contrasted the discovery of more diverse populations with the samples they received from racing Arabians. Another longstanding myth says that the Arabian contributed genetically to the modern Thoroughbred, but the racing Arabians’ DNA told a different story.


What we found in these samples was not that much Arabian ancestry was part of the Thoroughbred line, but the opposite: that Thoroughbred DNA exists in most of the modern racing Arabian lines.” — Samantha Brooks


“What we found in these samples was not that much Arabian ancestry was part of the Thoroughbred line, but the opposite: that Thoroughbred DNA exists in most of the modern racing Arabian lines, indicating a more recent interbreeding within this group,” Brooks said. “I can’t speculate on the how or why, but this is clearly the story the DNA is telling us.”

Read more at phys.org »

FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: Arabian horse by Samantha Brooks, UF/IFAS Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences, University of Florida.


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Substance charges laid following Queensland stewards probe

Horse Racing Queensland, Australia.

AAP | nine.com.au | (23 Jun. 20) — Queensland stewards have charged 15 people, including 13 trainers, with buying unregistered substances after a state wide investigation over the past two months.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission said it had informed 13 thoroughbred trainers, one stable hand and one jockey they had been charged with allegedly procuring substances or preparations in breach of the applicable legislation.

Those charged are trainers John Zielke, Jared Wehlow, Ricky Vale, Benjamin Williams, Christopher Tapiolas, Ian Shaw, Toni Schofield, Steven Royes, Kevin Miller, Darryl Hansen, Darryl Gardiner, Kristy Best, and Trinity Bannon, stablehand Andrew Minton and jockey Mark Barnham.

They are based in areas from the Sunshine Coast to central Queensland.

QRIC boss Ross Barnett said the alleged breaches were as a result of a state-wide investigation into the alleged procurement of substances or preparations in breach of Australian Rule of Racing 256(2)(a)(iii).

“The rule says: A person must not have in his or her possession or on his or her premises any medication, substance or preparation which has not been registered, labelled, prescribed, dispensed or obtained in accordance with applicable Commonwealth and State legislation,” Barnett said.

“All those charged have been notified and Stewards have requested submissions in writing or at an Inquiry on a date to be fixed.”

It is understood some of those charged face multiple offences while others face as few as one.

The charges relate to purchase or procuring substances but not administering, which is a more serious charge.

There have been several raids conducted by police on racing stables in Queensland this year but no information was available on whether Wednesday’s charges were related to those investigations.

©aap2020


See also TheAge.com for further coverage »


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Nevada BLM set to discuss use of motorized vehicles to manage wild horses

Wild horse helicopter roundup. National Geographic.

UPDATE: PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED BY THE BLM TO JULY 2ND. PLEASE MAIL YOUR COMMENTS AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN.

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KIBS | KBOV TV, BATTLE MOUNTAIN, NV. (22. Jun. 2020) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada will host its annual statewide public hearing to discuss the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles and aircraft in the monitoring and management of wild horses and burros on public lands in Nevada.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Lander County Courthouse located at 50 NV-305, Battle Mountain, NV 89820. For the health and safety of participants, wearing of masks during the public meeting will be mandatory and all other CDC and Nevada health guidelines will be followed.

The purpose of the hearing, required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, is to solicit public comment on the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to estimate wild horse or burro population size and the use of helicopters to gather and remove excess animals. The hearing will also consider the use of motorized vehicles to transport gathered wild horse or burros, as well as, to conduct field monitoring activates.

Nevada’s statewide wild horse and burro population numbers currently exceed 51,500 animals, which is more than 400 percent of the approved appropriate management level of 12,811. Having an overabundance of wild horses and burros above BLM management levels may cause resource damage resulting in limited forage and water availability, which reduces the number of animals that the land can support.

“Helicopter and motorized vehicle usage is a critical tool for managing wild horses and burros on public lands,” said Ruth Thompson, BLM Nevada’s Wild Horse and Burro State Lead. “These management tools allow us to conduct aerial population surveys, monitor animal distribution, conduct safe and effective gathers, and transport captured animals in a humane and efficient manner.”

Since legislated removals began in 1976, the BLM Nevada has removed more than 161,196 wild horses and burros from Nevada’s rangelands. Over 5,477 of those animals have been adopted or sold locally; the majority of animals gathered in Nevada shipped to other states for adoption, sale or older animals are sent to off-range pastures to live out the remainder of their lives.

If you cannot attend the hearing, written comments must be mailed to the BLM Battle Mountain District Office, attention: Jess Harvey, 50 Bastian Rd, Battle Mountain, NV 89820 and must be received by close of business on June 25, 2020, to be considered.


EDITOR’S NOTE. Here is the BLM Battle Mountain Office contact information. Feel free to email them before the deadline. They close at 4:30 pm Pacific time. Comments must be in writing.

Please do this right now while you are thinking about it. Thank you!

Mailing Address:
50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820

Email:
BLM_NV_BMDOwebmail@blm.gov

Phone: 775-635-4000
Fax: 775-635-4034
TTY/Federal Relay System:
1-800-877-8339

Want to fax and don’t have a fax machine? Try eFax. They are conducting a free trial.


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Thirteen California wild horses are captured and released in Colorado

Wild horses wander in the Sand Wash herd management area 45 miles west of Craig, Colo., in the Sand Wash Basin. Joe Amon, The Denver Post.

OUTTHERECOLORADO.COM (22 Jun. 2020) — Thirteen wild horses removed from an overpopulated range in California were released back into the wild in Northern Colorado over the weekend.

According to a report from CBS Denver, the thirteen wild horses taken from Modoc National Forest are now settling into their new 60-acre home near Red Feather Lakes. The horses are the first of 19 total to be released on the range in Colorado.

The non-profit organization Love Wild Horses says the “wild ponies” also play a big role in reducing the risk of wildfires by consuming fuel loads such as underbrush and other vegetation through natural grazing patterns.

If you want to see wild horses, here are four spots where you can still see them in Colorado.


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FEATURED IMAGE: Wild horses wander in the Sand Wash herd management area 45 miles west of Craig, Colo., in the Sand Wash Basin. Joe Amon, The Denver Post.