Researchers at the Animal Health Trust, based in Suffolk, England, are working with the Suffolk Horse Society to develop a breeding program to help safeguard the future of their local native breed.
The Suffolk Punch, an ancient draught breed is on the Rare Breed Survival Trust's "critical" list. At the last count there were fewer than 300 breeding animals left in the UK.
With such limited numbers, inbreeding risks limiting genetic diversity. Eventually this could lead to health problems.
Dr Sarah Blott, leading the research in the Department of Genetics, said " Our project aims to help breeders make the best use of the genetic knowledge in their quest to conserve the breed."