The origin of Chinese domestic horses revealed with novel mtDNA variants

Yunzhou Yang, Qiyun Zhu, Shuqin Liu, Chunjiang Zhao, Changxin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The origin of domestic horses in China was a controversial issue and several hypotheses including autochthonous domestication, introduction from other areas, and multiple-origins from both introduction and local wild horse introgression have been proposed, but none of them have been fully supported by DNA data. In the present study, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of 714 Chinese indigenous horses were analyzed. The results showed that Chinese domestic horses harbor some novel mtDNA haplogroups and suggested that local domestication events may have occurred, but they are not the dominant haplogroups and the geographical distributions of the novel mtDNA haplogroups were rather restricted. Conclusively, our results support the hypothesis that the domestic horses in China originated from both the introduced horses from outside of China and the local wild horses' introgression into the domestic populations. Results of genetic diversity analysis suggested a possibility that the introduced horses entered China through northern regions from the Eurasian steppe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Science Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese indigenous horse
  • domestication
  • haplotypes
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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