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Genetic Study Attempts to Find Origins of Modern Horses

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Domesticated Botai horsesPARIS, FRANCE—According to a report in The Independent, a genetic study of 88 ancient and modern horses revealed Mongolia’s Przewalksi’s horse to be descended from horses domesticated by the Botai people on the Central Asian steppes some 5,500 years ago. It had been previously thought that Przewalksi’s horses were truly wild creatures. Modern domestic horses, on the other hand, inherited only about three percent of their DNA from the animals bred by the Botai. “Our findings literally turn current population models of horse origins upside-down,” said molecular archaeologist Ludovic Orlando of the French National Center for Scientific Research. The study also revealed that ancient Botai horses boasted “leopard spots,” a trait caused by a gene that was also associated with night blindness. It was probably weeded out of the feral population that became Przewalksi’s horses by natural selection. For more, go to “The Story of the Horse.”

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