wild equids

Procrastinating on marking by reading articles on the proliferation of the myostatin C allele in TBs in the hope of locating research on the necessity and benefits of the T allele in endurance Arabians. Things I have learned include the fact that horses homozygous for T are not just better over distance, but they are smaller and less muscular, which would explain why all those endurance-bred Arabians at the auction yesterday were so little, most of them looking to be 14 hands and under. Also T is the allele present in zebras and other wild equids, so T was the ancestral wild type, and the C allele found in increasing numbers throughout the TB population is a mutation, introduced once into the breed 300 years ago, probably through one of the native British running horse mares, as it is found in 20% of British native breeds sampled; on the other hand, the mutation is present in other Eurasian horses, including Arabians and Barbs (3% of the sampled horses originating from Middle East and North Africa).

There are a lot of gaps in the horses sampled, though, including a complete lack of horses from any sire line but that of the Darley Arabian; given that the Godolphin Arabian’s grave is known and marked, you’d have thought that someone would have tried for a molar at least. Also some assertions that horses only raced two or three times in their life in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, which … doesn’t … quite … Maybe scientists need historians to help them write their papers, and then they wouldn’t come to some of the crazy conclusions I have seen, like the Arabian being a hundred years old as a pure, closed breed, because they found mtDNA matches in a bunch of other breeds … when anyone who has read even a handful of historical documents could tell you that the Arabian was used repeatedly in the establishment of European breeds, and anyone who had read the study could also have predicted that if you only sample Western-bred horses, well, um, yeeees, as it turns out, you’re looking at a handful of female founders pulled from the desert by Abbas Pasha, the Blunts, Homer Davenport, and a few others a hundred years ago. Because the Polish female families were steam-rollered by two World Wars and the Russian Revolution. So. Um. That particular paper is an example of Did Not Do The Rest Of The Research, especially in light of the papers sampling Middle Eastern Arabians, which found extraordinarily high levels of genetic diversity, as you would expect for a region which was both a Holocene refugium and a centre of early domestication.  

Come on, scientists, do the job properly, and plug up the gaping holes in your samples and your knowledge of history. 

Also, I want to have Skowronek’s skull tested for a whole bunch of things. 

And where are the papers on T/T in endurance horses? I want to know which of the ten (sixteen? why do they change the number, what am I misunderstanding here?) different haplotypes is most advantageous, and what breeds and lines within breeds they occur in.