general info about Theriologia Ukrainica

Theriologia Ukrainica

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2020 Vol. 20 Contents of volume >>>

download pdfKheidorova, E. E., K. V. Homel, M. E. Nikiforov, A. V. Shpak, V. Ch. Dombrovski, M. S. Shkvyrya, P. E. Schlichting, J. C. Beasley, D. A. Vishnevsky, Y. B. Yakovlev. 2020. Genetic diversity of the free-living population of Przewalski's horses in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Theriologia Ukrainica, 20: 5866.



Genetic diversity of the free-living population of Przewalski's horses in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone


Ekaterina E. Kheidorova, Kanstantsin V. Homel, Mikhail E. Nikiforov, Aliaksei V. Shpak, Valery Ch. Dombrovski, Marina S. Shkvyrya, Peter E. Schlichting, James C. Beasley, Denis A. Vishnevsky, Yegor B. Yakovlev


Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources, NAS of Belarus (Minsk, Belarus)
Polesie State Radioecological Reserve (Chojniki, Belarus)
Kyiv Zoological Park of National Importance (Kyiv, Ukraine)
University of Georgia (Athens, USA)
Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve (Kyiv, Ukraine)
I.I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, NAS of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2020. Vol. 20: 5866.




English, with Ukrainian summary, titles of tables, captures to figs


The present study is aimed at evaluating the genetic diversity, genetic status and the extent of hybridization with the domestic horse for the Przhevalskis horse (Equus ferus przewalskii Poliakov 1881) population free-ranging in the territory of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) in Belarus and Ukraine. The sample size included 12 individuals (10 sampled in the Belarusian part of the CEZ and 2 from the Ukrainian part of the CEZ). Ten microsatellites recommended by the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) for horse genetic status and pedigree determination were used as markers in this study. The fragment analysis data obtained utilising this microsatellite panel determined that two individuals from Belarus possess no allelic variants typical for Przhevalskis horse. Most of the other individuals presented diagnostically valuable allelic variants. Demographic history analysis for the population did not indicate any drastic population shrinkage events in the populations recent history. The studied population is characterised by heterogeneous population structure with signs of inbreeding (0.21 %), intermediate level of genetic diversity (He = 0.63) and allelic richness (5.15), possesses 16 unique alleles among 2 microsatellite loci and valuable alleles for loci HMS3 and HMS7 (46.4 and 67.9 % specific alleles for Przhevalskis horse, respectively). Genetic structure evaluation for the population was performed via Bayesian population structure analysis and factorial correspondence analysis (FCA), which indicated the presence of intrapopulation genetic subdivision. Taking into account the obtained indicators of genetic diversity, we may conclude on the relatively favourable status of Przewalskis horse in the exclusion zone with good potential for the long-term existence of the species population in the wild. In order to minimise inbreeding effects and the risk of a decline in genetic diversity in the population of Przewalskis horse of the exclusion zone, as well as to increase the value of this free-living group to preserve the gene pool of the species as a whole, it is necessary to provide detailed genetic monitoring of the livestocks state, as well as develop a regional population management plan, including measures aimed to minimise the possibility of further hybridisation of wild horses with domestic ones.


Przewalski's horse, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, microsatellites, genetic structure.



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