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National Animal Genome Research Program
Department of Veterinary Sciences
Biological research is best conducted in context of the most complete genomic information available for the species in question. The horse benefits from the strong homology that exists among mammals and the recent completion of a whole genome sequence for the horse. This information is a valuable tool that will enhance and enable new research in diverse areas of horse health and welfare including genetics, infectious disease investigations, reproductive physiology, therapeutics, nutrition and general physiology.
Although a genome sequence has been completed, research in this area is needed to make the information more readily available through bioinformatics portals, create new tools to take advantage of this resource and to provide expertise in collaborative activities to harvest the fruit of these new tools. Success of this activity will be apparent as the creation of new information that will be published in scientific and lay media as well as the development of new diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatments to benefit the health and welfare of horses.
2009 Project Description
During 2009, scientists from the horse genome workshop community met on three occasions, specifically, at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG) in San Diego in January, at the Equine Science Society (ESS) Meeting in Colorado in June and at the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Workshop near Newmarket, UK in July. The PAG meeting included research activities at each research station and deliberations regarding a manuscript describing the whole genome sequence (WGS) for the horse. The ESS meeting provided an opportunity for students to present their research and to develop collaborations with the Animal Science community. The Havemeyer Meeting was noteworthy because it was the first in this series in which the focus was the application of the WGS and discussion of research approaches. In addition, scientists made presentations to lay audiences including presentations by the coordinator to groups of breeders (Arabian, Thoroughbred, Saddlebred), Veterinarians (Kentucky Equine), and other scientists (Iowa State, University College Dublin).
The primary product from the workshop used during 2009 was the Illumina Equine SNP50 chip, used to assay approximately 50,000 DNA variants distributed on all autosomes and the X chromsome of horses. This was enabled by the information generated in connection with the whole genome sequencing. The use of the tool was the focus of research presented at the three meetings.
The applications made in Kentucky concerned 1) discovery of a recessive gene for extreme lordosis among Saddlebred horses 2) discovery of three mutations responsible for dwarfism among miniature horses 3) discovery of two possible genes conferring an immune characteristic in response to equine arteritis virus infection in horses. Work at other research stations identified genetic influences on developmental bone diseases, muscle diseases and Lavender Foal Syndrome of Arabian Horses.
In addition, work continued on development of tools to investigate gene expression for horses. At least three vehicles have been developed and annotation is underway. This work is a product of the whole genome sequence.
Wade C.M., Giulotto E., Sigurdsson S., Zoli M., Gnerre S., Imsland F., Lear T.L., Adelson D.L., Bailey E., Bellone R.R., Blocker H., Distl O., Edgar R.C., Garber M., Leeb T., Mauceli E., MacLeod J.N., Penedo M.C.T., Raison J.M., Sharpe T., Vogel J., Andersson L., Antczak D.F., Biagi T., Binns M.M., Chowdhary BP, Coleman SJ, Della Valle G, Fryc S, Guerin G, Hasegawa T., Hill E.W., Jurka J., Kiialainen A., Lindgren G., Liu J., Magnani E., Mickelson J.R., Murray J., Nergadze S.G., Onofrio R., Pedroni S., Piras M.F., Raudsepp T., Rocchi M., Roed K.H., Ryder O.A., Searle S., Skow L., Swinburne J.E., Syvanen A.C., Tozaki T., Valberg S.J., Vaudin M., White J.R., Zody M.C. (2009) Genome sequence, comparative analysis and population genetics of the domestic horse (Equus caballus). Science 326: 865-867.