Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences
Poznan University of Life Sciences

Horse Breeding Unit

Group members:

Assistant professors (with habilitation):
Dr hab. Jakub Cieślak
Assistant professors
Dr inż. Alicja Borowska
Dr inż. Mariusz Maćkowski
PhD candidates:
Mgr Weronika Mantaj
Mgr inż. Łukasz Wodas
Technical staff:
Sławomir Stróżyk


Our main research interests:

  • Genetic background of mare’s milk composition variability
  • Genetic and epigenetic factors influencing equine coat colors
  • Monitoring of genetic diversity indices for horse breeds harbored by conservation programs
  • Optimization of methods used for breeding and utility values prediction in horses

Applied research techniques:

  • Sanger DNA sequencing
  • Pyrosequencing (DNA methylation profile analysis)
  • Digital Droplet PCR (ddPCR)
  • Real-time PCR
  • Microsatellite polymorphisms analysis
  • Pedigree analyses and statistical methods
  • Examination of horse motion parameters using the Seaver electronic recorder

Selected publications (last four years):


Wodas L., Mackowski M., Borowska A., Puppel K., Kuczynska B., Cieslak J. (2020), Genes encoding equine BETA-lactoglobulin (LGB1 and LGB2): Polymorphism, expression, and impact on milk composition.PLoS ONE 15(4): e0232066 


Cieslak J., Wodas L., Borowska A., Pawlak P., Czyzak-Runowska G., Wojtowski J, Puppel K., Kuczynska B., Mackowski M. (2019), 5’-flanking variants of equine casein genes (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2, CSN3) and their relationship with gene expression and milk compositionJournal of Applied Genetics60 (1): 71-78

Mackowski, M., Wodas, L., Brooks, S., Cieslak, J. (2019), TBX3 and ASIP genotypes reveal discrepancies in officially recorded coat colors of Hucul horsesAnimal13(9): 1811-1816


Cieslak J., Borowska A., Wodas L., Mackowski M. (2018), Interbreed distribution of the myostatin (MSTN) gene 5’-flanking variants and their relationship with horse biometric traitsJournal of Equine Veterinary Science60: 83-89.e1

Borowska A., Szwaczkowski T., Kaminski S., Heringc D. M., Kordan W., Lecewicz M. (2018), Identification of genome regions determining semen quality in Holstein-Friesian bulls using information theory Animal Reproduction Science 192: 206-215

Wodas L., Mackowski M., Borowska A., Pawlak P., Puppel K., Kuczynska B., Czyzak-Runowska G., Wójtowski J., Cieslak J. (2018), 5’-flanking variants of the equine alpha-lactalbumin (LALBA) gene – relationship with gene expression and mare’s milk compositionJournal of Animal and Feed Sciences27/4:317–326


Borowska A., Reyer H., Wimmers K., Varley P. F., Szwaczkowski T. (2017), Detection of pig genome regions determining production traits using an information theory approach Livestock Science 205: 31-35

Cieslak J., Wodas L., Borowska A., Cothran E.G., Khanshour A.M., Mackowski M. (2017), Characterization of the Polish Primitive Horse (Konik) maternal lines using mitochondrial D-loop sequence variation PeerJ 5: e3714

Cieslak J., Wodas L., Borowska A., Sadoch J., Pawlak P., Puppel K., Kuczynska B., Mackowski M. (2017), Variability of lysozyme and lactoferrin bioactive protein concentrations in equine milk in relation to LYZ and LTF gene polymorphisms and expression Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 97(7): 2174-2181

Research projects:

  1. 2017-2020 - NCN Preludium project (2016/21/N/NZ9/01350) „Searching for polymorphisms in the structural regions of the LGB1, LGB2 and LALBA genes of the domestic horse and their association with expression level”. (Principal investigator: MSc. eng. Lukasz Wodas)
  2. 2015-2017 – Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education Iuventus Plus project (IP201400687).„Screening for mutation causative for equine coat color Dun dilution”. (Principal investigator: Dr. Jakub Cieslak)
  3. 2012-2017 –NCN Sonata project (2011/03/D/NZ9/05337). „Searching for the genetic background of horse complex traits variability with the application of modern structural and functional genomics methods. Genomic characteristics of mares milk composition in selected horse breeds”. (Principal investigator: Dr. Jakub Cieslak)
  4. 2011-2013 – Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education project (N N311 241438) „Polymorphism of genes involved in equine morphological traits”. (Principal investigator: Dr eng. Mariusz Mackowski)


Didactics (main subjects):

  • Horse genetics (Animal science II°, spec. Hypology; supervisor: Dr. habil. Jakub Cieslak)
  • Basics of horses and riders training (Animal science II°, spec. Hypology; supervisor: Dr. eng. Alicja Borowska)
  • Farm animals (Applied biology II°, spec. Animal biology)
  • Horse breeding and utility (Animal science I°; supervisors: Dr. habil. Jakub Cieslak and Dr. eng. Mariusz Mackowski)
  • Equine hygiene and welfare (Veterinary; supervisor: Dr. eng. Alicja Borowska)
  • Immunogenetic diagnostics (Biotechnology II°; supervisor: Dr. Eng. Mariusz Mackowski)
  • Genetic diagnostics in animal breeding (Animal science II°)