Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DNA Study of Thoroughbreds

Punctuated Equilibrium reports on a new DNA study of thoroughbreds which confirms that many foundation mares were British and that disproves claims that TBs have "pure" Arab blood. This data strongly supports Richard Nash's arguments, although I'm not sure that Bower's claim that "In the 17th and 18th centuries it was all about the boys," is quite right. In his chapter in The Culture of the Horse, Nash says that Weatherby started out recording the pedigrees of mares: "The original project of a national stud book was manifestly not to document the paternal influence of a particular group of stallions; indeed, for good and logical reasons, that project was properly gynocentric". He also showed that the influence of mares was uncertain and contested in the 18th century, so not "Originally, animal breeders thought that the important parent was the father and that any mare would do as a mother". There also seems to be some anachronistic mention of "British native breeds", but these weren't really invented until after the thoroughbred. Still, it looks like a really interesting and important study.

  1. M. A. Bower et al., “The cosmopolitan maternal heritage of the Thoroughbred racehorse breed shows a significant contribution from British and Irish native mares,” Biology Letters (10, 2010),  

  2. Richard Nash, “"Honest English breed" : the thoroughbred as cultural metaphor,” in The Culture of the Horse, ed. Karen L. Raber and Treva J. Tucker (New York; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).  

No comments:

Post a Comment