Special Issue "Horse Breeding and Genetics"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 March 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Cristina Sartori
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020, Legnaro, Padova, Italy
Interests: animal breeding; quantitative genetics; selection response; evolutionary biology; animal behaviour; functional traits; genetic diversity; horse; cattle; small populations
Prof. Roberto Mantovani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020, Legnaro, Padova, Italy
Interests: animal breeding; quantitative genetics; horse genomics, horse breeding management, small horse populations; cattle breeding management; small cattle populations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Studies on horse breeding and genetics are often dispersed in many scientific journals, and little attention is generally paid to topics such as horse genetic improvement and horse genomics, despite horses have been selected over time for a number of traits like speed, gaits, jumping performances, strength, or for more conventional traits like morphology or temperament. Worldwide, many horse breeds have been selected for preserving and improving traits of interest for sport performances or work. In addition, most horse breeds are small close populations with high levels of inbreeding and homozygosis, requiring appropriate breeding management. Novel traits such as fertility, longevity, and health have been recently included or should be included in breeding decisions. Furthermore, in spite of the current lack of genomic data, an implementation of genomic selection in equine management could provide substantial benefits, because of the long generation interval typical of horses. Additionally, new genomic features have increased interest in analyzing genetic diversity among horse breeds, and in attaining deep knowledge on the functionality of single or groups of genes involved in the expression of economical important traits. Gene networking or studies on other “omics-science” are also hot topics in horse breeding and genetics. We hereby are glad to invite authors to submit original manuscripts that address any aspect related to horse breeding and genetics. Topics of interest include the genetic improvement of novel and traditional traits, genetic correlations, and the response to selection; genome-wide association studies, genomic selection, and pathway analyses of traits; and genetic diversity, optimal contribution selection, characterization of horse genome variation, and studies on gene functionality.

Dr. Cristina Sartori
Prof. Roberto Mantovani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Animal breeding
  • Genetic parameters
  • Heritability
  • Selection
  • Genomics
  • Genetic diversity
  • Inbreeding
  • Animal genetic resources
  • Horse
  • New traits
  • Conformation
  • Tenmperament
  • Sport horses
  • Racing horses
  • Riding horses
  • Draught horses

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Identification of Novel lncRNAs Differentially Expressed in Placentas of Chinese Ningqiang Pony and Yili Horse Breeds
Animals 2020, 10(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010119 - 11 Jan 2020
Abstract
As a nutrient sensor, the placenta plays a key role in regulating fetus growth and development. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to regulate growth-related traits. However, the biological function of lncRNAs in horse placentas remains unclear. To compare the expression patterns [...] Read more.
As a nutrient sensor, the placenta plays a key role in regulating fetus growth and development. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to regulate growth-related traits. However, the biological function of lncRNAs in horse placentas remains unclear. To compare the expression patterns of lncRNAs in the placentas of the Chinese Ningqiang (NQ) and Yili (YL) breeds, we performed a transcriptome analysis using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology. NQ is a pony breed with an average adult height at the withers of less than 106 cm, whereas that of YL is around 148 cm. Based on 813 million high-quality reads and stringent quality control procedures, 3011 transcripts coding for 1464 placental lncRNAs were identified and mapped to the horse reference genome. We found 107 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DELs) between NQ and YL, including 68 up-regulated and 39 down-regulated DELs in YL. Six (TBX3, CACNA1F, EDN3, KAT5, ZNF281, TMED2, and TGFB1) out of the 233 genes targeted by DELs were identified as being involved in limb development, skeletal myoblast differentiation, and embryo development. Two DELs were predicted to target the TBX3 gene, which was found to be under strong selection and associated with small body size in the Chinese Debao pony breed. This finding suggests the potential functional significance of placental lncRNAs in regulating horse body size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomic Analysis of Testicular Gene Expression in Normal and Cryptorchid Horses
Animals 2020, 10(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010102 - 08 Jan 2020
Abstract
Testes produce sperm, and investigations into gene expression in the testes will enhance the understanding of the roles of testicular genes in male reproduction. Cryptorchidism, the failure of one or both testes to descend into the scrotal sac, is a common congenital malformation [...] Read more.
Testes produce sperm, and investigations into gene expression in the testes will enhance the understanding of the roles of testicular genes in male reproduction. Cryptorchidism, the failure of one or both testes to descend into the scrotal sac, is a common congenital malformation in horses. The major clinical consequence of this abnormality is impaired fertility. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression patterns of testicular genes and to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in testes between cryptorchid and normal horses. In this study, the gene expression patterns in equine testes and the DEGs between mature descended testes (DTs) and undescended testes (UDTs) were identified by RNA-seq and validated by real-time qPCR. Our results provide comprehensive transcriptomic data on equine testes. The transcriptomic analysis revealed 11 affected genes that were downregulated in UDTs, possibly as a result of the higher temperature in the abdomen than in the scrotal sac. These 11 genes have previously been associated with male reproduction, and their downregulation might explain the impaired fertility of cryptorchid horses. Two homozygous missense mutations detected in horses with cryptorchidism were absent in normal horses and were listed as potential pathogenic mutations; these mutations should be verified in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Whole-Genome Signatures of Selection in Sport Horses Revealed Selection Footprints Related to Musculoskeletal System Development Processes
Animals 2020, 10(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010053 - 26 Dec 2019
Abstract
Selective breeding has led to gradual changes at the genome level of horses. Deciphering selective pressure patterns is progressive to understand how breeding strategies have shaped the sport horse genome; although, little is known about the genomic regions under selective pressures in sport [...] Read more.
Selective breeding has led to gradual changes at the genome level of horses. Deciphering selective pressure patterns is progressive to understand how breeding strategies have shaped the sport horse genome; although, little is known about the genomic regions under selective pressures in sport horse breeds. The major goal of this study was to shed light on genomic regions and biological pathways under selective pressures in sport horses. In this study, whole-genome sequences of 16 modern sport and 35 non-sport horses were used to investigate the genomic selective signals of sport performance, by employing fixation index, nucleotide diversity, and Tajima’s D approaches. A total number of 49 shared genes were identified using these approaches. The functional enrichment analysis for candidate genes revealed novel significant biological processes related to musculoskeletal system development, such as limb development and morphogenesis, having been targeted by selection in sport breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Breeding and Genetics)
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