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Equine Genotyping or horse DNA testing, as it is more commonly known, is a unique science that enables horse owners, breeders, and trainers to learn about their animals' genetic traits. It has revolutionized the horse industry, and in this article, we examine its benefits and answer common questions regarding this service.
Racehorse training is a complex task. It requires handlers to match horses to the races they are most capable of winning, and at the same time, maximize the amount of prize money won.
Trainers usually base their decisions on various factors such as
Trainers are also increasingly relying on DNA information to facilitate their choices. The reasons for this are simple; a horse's performance is the product of its genetics and environment. While a trainer may have substantial control over the environment, including how the horse is trained, its DNA cannot be changed. Also, studies have revealed that equine DNA has a significant impact on performance. These factors are compelling reasons to gather as much information as possible on horses' genetic makeup.
Most inherited diseases are caused by mutations within a single gene that changes how the body works. They are either dominant or recessive. Inheriting only one copy of a defective dominant gene will affect the foal. If the mutation is recessive, on the other hand, the foal needs to inherit two copies of the defective gene (one from each parent) to be affected.
A horse with only one copy of the recessive gene is known as a carrier. He or she may be completely healthy but is capable of producing offspring with the disease when mated to another carrier.
DNA testing can help owners identify the following conditions
Besides enabling breeders to sort between healthy and affected animals, it allows them to find carriers. Consequently, it is a vital tool for avoiding the production of unviable or affected foals.
Note: PSSM1 testing is mandatory for all quarter horse breeding stallions. However, the disease has also been discovered in more than 20 breeds, including warmbloods with European ancestry and American stock hoses.
Note: to prevent sample contamination, you should not brush your horse's mane with a brush that may have another horse's hair in it. You could unintentionally add the other horse's hair to the sample.
Yes, but there are exceptions. All individuals have unique DNA except for identical twins (also known as monozygotic twin horses). Identical twins are very rare in horses and are the result of a fertilized egg splitting. Dizygotic or fraternal twins are more common, and they occur when two follicles ripen each ova they produce is independent fertilized.
Using DNA tests to verify a foal's parentage requires samples from three parties: the dam, sire, and foal. DNA analysis can verify whether the sire and damsel created the foal by comparing the genotypes from all three horses.
Equine DNA testing is a beneficial tool for horse breeders, owners, and trainers, and it's only going to get better. As the science continues to evolve, researchers will continue refining the process and identifying new genetic trait markers, making it an indispensable industry tool.