A comparative approach that utilizes information from more densely mapped or sequenced genomes is a proven and efficient means to increase our knowledge of the structure of the horse genome. Human chromosome 2 (HSA2), the second largest human chromosome, comprising 243 Mb, and containing 1246 known genes, corresponds to all or parts of three equine chromosomes. This report describes the assignment of 140 new markers (78 genes and 62 microsatellites) to the equine radiation hybrid (RH) map, and the anchoring of 24 of these markers to horse chromosomes by FISH. The updated equine RH maps for ECA6p, ECA15, and ECA18 resulting from this work have one, two, and three RH linkage groups, respectively, per chromosome/chromosome-arm. These maps have a three-fold increase in the number of mapped markers compared to previous maps of these chromosomes, and an increase in the average marker density to one marker per 1.3 Mb. Comparative maps of ECA6p, ECA15, and ECA18 with human, chimpanzee, dog, mouse, rat, and chicken genomes reveal blocks of conserved synteny across mammals and vertebrates.

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