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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • inbreeding;
  • soundness;
  • Thoroughbred

Summary

Changes in the inbreeding coefficient, F, in the Thoroughbred horse over the past 45 years have been investigated by genotyping 467 Thoroughbred horses (born between 1961 and 2006) using the Illumina Equine SNP50 bead chip, which comprises 54 602 SNPs uniformly distributed across the equine genome. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient, r, between the year of birth and F was estimated. The results indicate that inbreeding in Thoroughbreds has increased over the past 40 years, with r = 0.24, P < 0.001 demonstrating that there is a highly significant, though relatively weak correlation between the year of birth and inbreeding coefficients. Interestingly, the majority of the increase in inbreeding is post-1996 and coincides with the introduction of stallions covering larger numbers of mares.