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January 25, 2010

Speed Genes in Horses Have been Identified

A speed gene in horses is enabling thoroughbred owners to sort would-be sprinters from plodders from just a teaspoonful of the galloper’s blood.

The research, published Jan. 20 in the Public Library of Science Journal PLoS ONE, is the first known characterization of a gene contributing to a specific athletic trait in thoroughbreds, the authors said. Commercialization of the test may alter the course of a multibillion-dollar industry whose breeding practices have remained little changed for centuries.

For 1,000 euros ($1,400), owners may submit a 5 milliliter sample of their horse’s blood to Hill’s Equinome lab to test whether the animal has inherited a specific myostatin mutation conferring speed for short-distance races, staying power for middle distances or stamina for longer events over 2.1 kilometers (1.3 miles).

It takes out a lot of the guesswork and minimizes the risk of any future investment you may have for a horse.

Horses with the myostatin gene combination designated as C/C are better suited to fast, short races; those with the C/T variation tend to compete better over middle distances; and T/T animals have more stamina. C/C and C/T were more successful 2-year-old racehorses, earning an average of 5.5 times more prize money than T/T horses

This work also means that owners could also modify the genes of a testtube horse to ensure C/C, C/T or T/T genes.

This relates to one of the predictions I made in 2006

Gene doping rampant in horse and dog racing 2007-2008

The date of the prediction assumed that the gene doping started happening but will not be caught for a number of years.

Champion horses were cloned in 2006 The procedures started in 2005 and the horses were born in 2006. Any time the speed gene sequences were know one could have ensured that the speed genes were propogating and genetically engineering the germline cells to ensure that a fast version of a champion horse was being born. You would want to use the egg or sperm of a champion to have the highest odds for the unknown contributing genes to be right as well.






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