The pedigree structure of the Dutch Friesian horse breed (n=79,962) was analysed to asses the genetic diversity still present in the population. The effective number of founders explaining the genetic diversity in the reference population (i.e female horses born between 1995 and 2005) was 26, whereas the effective number of ancestors was 16. The rate of inbreeding was 1.5% per equivalent generation which is beyond the critical level of 1%. The analysis indicated that the population has suffered from a bottle-neck shortly after the establishment of the population, and that a substantial loss of allelic diversity has occurred due to drift because of small population size. The increase of average kinship during recent generations has declined and this coincided with a substantial growth of the population. A decline of the rate of inbreeding might be expected, but a proper conservation programme is still needed to further reduce allelic loss from the population.

Bart J Ducro, Henk Bovenhuis, M. Neuteboom, I. Hellinga

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume , , 08.03, 2006
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