Date of Award

Spring 1986

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Rev. Joseph Harrington

Second Advisor

James Manion

Third Advisor

John Hart


An attempt was made to determine the degree of genetic uniqueness among feral horses in the western United States. Blood samples were collected from 86 feral horses in six separate herds in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Plasma proteins were compared by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Hemoglobin polymorphism was examined and compared by isoelectric focusing techniques. The incidence of polymorphism among the hemoglobin types did not differ significantly among four of the six populations, but did differ significantly among the Pryor (Montana) and Challis (Idaho) herds. Anatomical and behavioral differences are also evident among these horses.