University of Oulu

Kvist, L., Honka, J., Salazar, D., Kirkinen, T. & Hemmann, K. (2022) Memories, museum artefacts and excavations in resolving the history of maternal lineages in the Finnhorse. Animal Genetics, 53, 821– 828. Available from:

Memories, museum artefacts and excavations in resolving the history of maternal lineages in the Finnhorse

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Author: Kvist, Laura1; Honka, Johanna1; Salazar, Daniela1;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Cultures, Archaeology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry/Animal Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-14


We used historical DNA samples to examine the history of a native horse breed, the Finnhorse. Samples were collected from private collections, museums, schools and excavations, representing the times prior to, during, and after the foundation of the breed; from the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century. We sequenced a fragment of mitochondrial DNA from these historical samples to study the history and evolution of maternal lineages of horses back to the early days of the breed, compared the mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity of different historical periods and modern day Finnhorses, estimated the effective population sizes, and searched for both temporal and geographic population genetic structure. We observed high maternal haplotype and nucleotide diversity at the time during the foundation of the breed, and a decrease in both measures during 1931–1970. In addition, we observed losses of some haplotypes present in the early stages of the breed. There was only slight evidence of geographical or temporal population structure. This study is, to our knowledge, the first to use such temporal sampling to reveal the history of a specific animal breed.

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Series: Animal genetics
ISSN: 0268-9146
ISSN-E: 1365-2052
ISSN-L: 0268-9146
Volume: 53
Issue: 6
Pages: 821 - 828
DOI: 10.1111/age.13256
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: The Alfred Kordelin Foundation, University of Oulu and Erkki Rajakosken Rahasto are commended for funding this research.
Dataset Reference: Supporting information:
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Animal Genetics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.