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Phenotypic characterization of Indian equine breeds: a comparative study

  • A.K. Gupta (a1), S.N. Tandon (a1), Y. Pal (a1), A. Bhardwaj (a1) and M. Chauhan (a1)...
Summary

Populations of the six equine breeds registered by the Indian National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources have drastically decreased due to indiscriminate breeding and their low utilization. In this study, 15 biometric indices along with typical breed characteristics were recorded for 50 animals of each breed except Bhutia breed (35) for their phenotypic characterization. On the basis of their heights at wither, Kathiawari and Marwari breeds were grouped under “horse”, while Zanskari, Manipuri, Bhutia and Spiti fell under “pony” breeds. Marwari was the tallest and significantly different from other breeds in most of the biometric indices. Spiti was the shortest breed among all the six horse and pony breeds. Sex-wise differences were also observed in some of the biometric indices in different breeds. In Marwari and Kathiawari breeds, both stallions and mares can rotate their ears at an angle of 180° making the ear tips meet in the centre, which is a typical characteristic of the two breeds. This report aims at providing reference data for identification and comparison of different breeds of equines in India with a view to raise awareness among animal geneticists and breeders for production of true to breed animals, conservation and better management of these precious genetic resources.

Les populations des six races équines enregistrées par le Indian National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (Bureau national des ressources zoogénétiques) ont radicalement baissé en raison d'une sélection sans discernement et de la réduction de leur utilisation. Dans cette étude, on a enregistré, pour la caractérisation phénotypique, 15 indices biométriques, ainsi que les caractéristiques typiques raciales de 50 animaux pour chaque race, à l'exception de la race Bhutia (35). Sur la base de leur hauteur au garrot, les races Kathiawari et Marwari ont été classées comme “chevaux” tandis que les races Zanskari, Manipuri, Bhutia et Spiti ont été classées comme “poneys”. La race Marwari est la plus grande et elle est considérablement différente par rapport aux autres races en ce qui concerne la plupart des indices biométriques. La race Spiti est la plus petite parmi toutes les six races de chevaux et de poneys. On a également constaté des diversités au niveau des sexes dans certains des indices biométriques de races différentes. Une caractéristique particulière des races Marwari et Kathiawari est que les étalons et les juments peuvent pivoter leurs oreilles de 180° de façon à en réunir les pointes. Ce rapport vise à fournir des données de référence pour l'identification et la comparaison des différentes races équines de l'Inde afin de sensibiliser les généticiens et les sélectionneurs en faveur de la production d'animaux de race pure, de la conservation et de l'amélioration de la gestion de ces ressources génétiques précieuses.

Las poblaciones de las seis razas equinas registradas por la Oficina Nacional India de Recursos Zoogenéticos han disminuido drásticamente a causa de la cría sin criterio y de su menor utilización. En este trabajo, se estudiaron 15 índices biométricos, junto con características raciales típicas, en 50 animales de cada raza, excepto en la raza Bhutia (35) para su caracterización fenotípica. En base a sus alzadas a la cruz, las razas Kathiawari y Marwari se clasificaron como “caballos”, mientras que las razas Zanskari, Manipuri, Bhutia y Spiti se clasificaron como “ponis”. La raza Marwari fue la de mayor alzada y la que era significativamente diferente a otras razas en la mayoría de los índices biométricos. La raza Spiti fue la que presentó una menor alzada entre las seis poblaciones de caballos y ponis estudiadas. Se observó un moderado dimorfismo sexual en algunos de los índices biométricos en las diferentes razas. En las razas Marwari y Kathiawari, tanto los sementales como las yeguas, pueden girar las orejas en un ángulo de 180°, quedando las puntas de las orejas en el centro, siendo una característica típica de estas dos razas. Este trabajo tiene como objetivo proporcionar información de referencia para la identificación y comparación de las distintas razas de équidos de la India, con el propósito de sensibilizar a genetistas y criadores acerca de la importancia de producir ejemplares típicos, de su conservación y para la mejora de la gestión de estos valiosos recursos genéticos.

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Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: A.K. Gupta, Ph.D., Principal Scientist (Animal Biochemistry), Basic and Supporting Discipline Unit, National Research Centre on Equines (ICAR), Sirsa Road, Hisar 125001, Haryana, India. email: akguptanrce@hotmail.com
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Animal Genetic Resources/Resources génétiques animales/Recursos genéticos animales
  • ISSN: 2078-6336
  • EISSN: 2078-6344
  • URL: /core/journals/animal-genetic-resources-resources-genetiques-animales-recursos-geneticos-animales
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