The New Scientest recently reported on a DNA study of thoroughbred horses, which led to the incredible fact that 95$% of today's thoroughbred horses link back to one ancestor. Here is some information from the article:
"Virtually all 500,000 of the world's thoroughbred racehorses are descended from 28 ancestors, born in the 18th and 19th centuries, according to a new genetic study. And up to 95% of male thoroughbreds can be traced back to just one stallion.
Thoroughbred horses were developed in 18th century in the UK. English mares were bred with Arabian and other stallions to create horses with great stamina for distance racing. Today, thoroughbreds are the most valuable of breeds, representing a multi-billion dollar annual industry, worldwide.
To assess the genetic diversity of modern racing horses, geneticist Patrick Cunningham of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, compared 13 microsatellite DNA loci at repeating sequences of DNA which vary in length in 211 thoroughbreds and 117 other Shetland, Egyptian and Turkish horses. He also examined studbooks dating back to 1791.
He found the majority of the half million progeny alive today are descended from just 28 founder horses.
It was already known that just a handful of stallions (but many mares) were used to found the thoroughbred breed. But startlingly, the new research finds that, in 95% of modern racehorses, the Y-chromosome can be traced back to a single stallion - the Darley Arabian, born in 1700."
So Secretariat's ancestry can be traced back to the Darley Arabian? Secretariat gets my vote as the greatest racehorse of modern times.
Read the full article here
Source: Venture Chronicles