Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Genetic diversity and signatures of selection in four indigenous horse breeds of Iran

Mousavi, Seyedeh Fatemeh; Razmkabir, Mohammad; Rostamzadeh, Jalal; Seyedabadi, Hamid-Reza; Naboulsi, Rakan; Petersen, Jessica L.; Lindgren, Gabriella


Indigenous Iranian horse breeds were evolutionarily affected by natural and artificial selection in distinct phylogeographic clades, which shaped their genomes in several unique ways. The aims of this study were to evaluate the genetic diversity and genomewide selection signatures in four indigenous Iranian horse breeds. We evaluated 169 horses from Caspian (n = 21), Turkmen (n = 29), Kurdish (n = 67), and Persian Arabian (n = 52) populations, using genomewide genotyping data. The contemporary effective population sizes were 59, 98, 102, and 113 for Turkmen, Caspian, Persian Arabian, and Kurdish breeds, respectively. By analysis of the population genetic structure, we classified the north breeds (Caspian and Turkmen) and west/southwest breeds (Persian Arabian and Kurdish) into two phylogeographic clades reflecting their geographic origin. Using the de-correlated composite of multiple selection signal statistics based on pairwise comparisons, we detected a different number of significant SNPs under putative selection from 13 to 28 for the six pairwise comparisons (FDR < 0.05). The identified SNPs under putative selection coincided with genes previously associated with known QTLs for morphological, adaptation, and fitness traits. Our results showed HMGA2 and LLPH as strong candidate genes for height variation between Caspian horses with a small size and the other studied breeds with a medium size. Using the results of studies on human height retrieved from the GWAS catalog, we suggested 38 new putative candidate genes under selection. These results provide a genomewide map of selection signatures in the studied breeds, which represent valuable information for formulating genetic conservation and improved breeding strategies for the breeds.

Published in

2023, Volume: 131, pages: 96-108