Y Chromosome Uncovers the Recent Oriental Origin of Modern Stallions

Barbara Wallner, Nicola Palmieri, Claus Vogl, Doris Rigler, Elif Bozlak, Thomas Druml, Vidhya Jagannathan, Tosso Leeb, Ruedi Fries, Jens Tetens, Georg Thaller, Julia Metzger, Ottmar Distl, Gabriella Lindgren, Carl Johan Rubin, Leif Andersson, Robert Schaefer, Molly McCue, Markus Neuditschko, Stefan RiederChristian Schlötterer, Gottfried Brem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The Y chromosome directly reflects male genealogies, but the extremely low Y chromosome sequence diversity in horses has prevented the reconstruction of stallion genealogies [1, 2]. Here, we resolve the first Y chromosome genealogy of modern horses by screening 1.46 Mb of the male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) in 52 horses from 21 breeds. Based on highly accurate pedigree data, we estimated the de novo mutation rate of the horse MSY and showed that various modern horse Y chromosome lineages split much later than the domestication of the species. Apart from few private northern European haplotypes, all modern horse breeds clustered together in a roughly 700-year-old haplogroup that was transmitted to Europe by the import of Oriental stallions. The Oriental horse group consisted of two major subclades: the Original Arabian lineage and the Turkoman horse lineage. We show that the English Thoroughbred MSY was derived from the Turkoman lineage and that English Thoroughbred sires are largely responsible for the predominance of this haplotype in modern horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2029-2035.e5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 10 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Equus caballus
  • Y chromosome
  • breeding
  • genealogy
  • haplotype
  • horse
  • patrilineal ancestry
  • phylogeny
  • stallion line


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