Article ID: 16-0040
Thirty-two microsatellites and a mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of endangered Yonaguni horses were analyzed to establish a pedigree registration system and to understand their genetic diversity for planning effective conservation. Blood samples were collected from 78 of the 130 horses in existence, and DNA was extracted and genotyped. There were two major findings. One is that it is possible to use microsatellites for Yonaguni horse pedigree registration in the future because the power of exclusion of parentage testing is reliable at 0.999998. The second is the clarification of the current genetic diversity of Yonaguni horses. The average number of alleles, observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity and fixation index were 4.4, 0.591, 0.601 and 0.016, respectively, for the analyzed horses. The probability of a genetic bottleneck, under the assumptions of the stepwise mutation model, was 0.432, suggesting that the genetic structure of the horses was not influenced by a recent bottleneck. Genetic distance between individuals was visualized by a phylogenetic tree based on the proportion of shared alleles. Structure analysis based on Bayesian clustering revealed the possibility that Yonaguni horses comprise four or five subpopulations. Consequently, although only two haplotypes were identified in the mitochondrial analysis, genetic diversity of Yonaguni horses was not particularly low in comparison with that of other breeds that are at risk of extinction.