Various horse populations in the Americas have an origin in Spain; they are remnants of the first livestock introduced to the continent early in the colonial period (16th and 17th centuries). We evaluated genetic variability within the Venezuelan Criollo horse and its relationship with other horse breeds. We observed high levels of genetic diversity within the Criollo breed. Significant population differentiation was observed between all South American breeds.
The genetic variability for a sample of 227 animals from three populations of Pantaneiro horses was estimated using data from 10 microsatellite loci. The number of alleles and the proportion of heterozygosity indicated high variability. A total of 91 alleles were found, with a significantly high mean number of alleles. The mean polymorphic information content was 0.7 and the paternity exclusion probability was 99.3%. The inbreeding coefficient (Fis) was low for the three populations: Ipiranga (FIS = 0.147), Nova Esperança (Fis = 0.094) and Promissão (Fis = 0.108).
A data set concerning 1,816 subjects entered in the Italian Horse Registry from 1925 to 2002 was analyzed to investigate the morphological evolution of the Murgese horse and to obtain useful elements to enhance breeding practices. Three basic body measurements (height at withers, chest girth, and cannon bone circumference) were considered for each subject. Heritabilities were calculated for each parameter to infer the growth and development traits of this breed.