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Anim Biosci > Volume 35(8); 2022 > Article
Animal Breeding and Genetics
Animal Bioscience 2022;35(8): 1141-1150.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0500    Published online March 1, 2022.
Genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA from ancient Equus caballus bones found at archaeological site of Joseon dynasty period capital area
Jong Ha Hong1,a  , Chang Seok Oh2,a  , Sun Kim3  , In Uk Kang1  , Dong Hoon Shin4,* 
1Institute of Korean Archaeology and Ancient History, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea
2Department of Mortuary Science, College of Bio-Convergence, Eulji University, Seongnam 13135, Korea
3Research Institute of Buddhist Cultural Heritage, Seoul 03147, Korea
4Comparative Anatomy Lab, Institute of Forensic and Anthropological Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea
Correspondence:  Dong Hoon Shin, Tel: +82-2-740-8199, Fax: +82-2-745-9528, Email: cuteminjae@gmail.com
Received: 10 November 2021   • Revised: 27 December 2021   • Accepted: 28 January 2022
aThese authors contributed equally to this work.
To understand the domestication and spread of horses in history, genetic information is essential. However, mitogenetic traits of ancient or medieval horses have yet to be comprehensively revealed, especially for East Asia. This study thus set out to reveal the maternal lineage of skeletal horse remains retrieved from a 15th century archaeological site (Gongpyeongdong) at Old Seoul City in South Korea.
We extracted DNA from the femur of Equus caballus (SNU-A001) from Joseon period Gongpyeongdong site. Mitochondrial (mt) DNA (HRS 15128-16116) of E. caballus was amplified by polymerase chain reaction. Cloning and sequencing were conducted for the mtDNA amplicons. The sequencing results were analyzed by NCBI/BLAST and phylogenetic tool of MEGA7 software.
By means of mtDNA cytochrome b and D-loop analysis, we found that the 15th century Korean horse belonged to haplogroup Q representing those horses that have historically been raised widely in East Asia.


The horse is unique among domesticated animals for the remarkable impact it has on human civilization in terms of transportation and trade. Utilizing the Joseonperiod horse remains, we can obtain clues to reveal the genetic traits of Korean horse that existed before the introduction of Western horses.
Keywords: Ancient DNA; Equus caballus; Horse; Joseon Period; Mitochondrial DNA; South Korea
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