For landlocked Bhutan characterised by rugged terrain and harsh climatic conditions, the highly adapted traditional horse breeds played an unfailing role in country’s trade during the pre-modernisation era. It continues to play an important role in many parts of the country where motorable road has not yet reached. However, the horse population in the country is rapidly declining due to various factors including their diminishing utility. Reducing population size leads to inbreeding which in turn affects survival, performance and productivity. Assessment of genetic diversity is one of the tools to determine the status of the diversity and develop strategies for effective management of animal genetic resources.
As the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) is mandated to promoting conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity in particular of the traditional genetic diversity, a team from Animal Genetic Resources Program of NBC assessed the genetic diversity and population structure of Bhutanese traditional horses (Yuta, Boeta and Sharta) using the standard DNA microsatellite genotyping tools.
The following are the key findings from the study:
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