To investigate the origin and ancestral source of the Akhal-Teke horse eight scientists from the Gansu Agricultural University in Lanzhou, China used genome-wide data from 22 breeds (481 horses) and mitochondrial sequences from 24 breeds (544 sequences) worldwide. Researchers found that the Akhal-Teke horse breed has a high level of genetic diversity and that the Akhal-Teke horse has not historically expanded its group. They found no genetic relationship between the Akhal-Teke horse and the Caspian horse or any evidence that the Akhal-Teke horse migrated from Central Asia to the Middle East.
Researchers identified a close genetic link between the Akhal-Teke horse and Middle Eastern horse populations, especially Arabian horses. When examining the evaluation of ancestry ratios of Akhal-Teke horses, researchers found that Arabian horses accounted for 26% and Caspian horses accounted for 18% of the ancestry of Akhal-Teke horses. The study concluded that the Akhal-Teke horse originated in the Middle East.
The Akhal-Teke horse is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world estimated to be at least 3,000 years old. It belongs to the riding-horse category due to their sporting characteristics. The Akhal-Teke horse is also well adapted to harsh climatic conditions and is famous for its beautiful appearance and shining coat color. However, according to the researchers, the Akhal-Teke horse population is slowly declining and is endangered. Currently, the Akhal-Teke is mainly found in Turkmenistan.
Despite being one of the few purebred horse breeds in the world, the origin of the Akhal-Teke horse is highly controversial. The most common hypothesis is that the Akhal-Teke horse originated in Central Asia and was introduced to the Middle East. There were also claims that the Akhal-Teke horse originated in Eurasian steppe, Southwest Asia and Middle East.