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Animal Sciences Department

Animal Sciences Department

Brooks Equine Genetics Lab

Get a Leg-up

Project Description

Mature body size in horses is influenced by many different genes found across the genome of the horse. This study aims to pinpoint specific genes that contribute to the overall size, growth and conformation of these animals. Previous studies conducted by our team developed a new way of measuring horses that allows us to get a 3-D perspective on how they are built, without fancy equipment. We have already found a couple interesting genes for body size using this measuring method and genetic analysis, but traits like conformation are very complex and need more work. This is where we need your help! In order for a study like this to be successful we need to use body size data and DNA samples from horses of all sizes and shapes, from many different breeds. Every single sample is beneficial to the entire study, and gets us a little closer to new discoveries that may help the animals that we love.

The short term goal of the study is to determine which genes have the greatest effect on body size in the horse. By learning what the normal shape of the horse is and determining which genes code for conformation and size we can gain a better understanding of growth and development and what factors contribute to abnormal conformations and lameness. Using what we gather from this study we will also be able to learn more about which versions of genes may potentially increase the likelihood of conformational faults or predisposition to lameness. This is of value to many horse breeders and owners because it would enable tools like genetic tests for predicting which horses will have less lameness due to conformational faults. These genetic tests could be a valuable selection tool for horse breeders to use to decrease the chance that foals will be born with a conformational fault, predisposition to lameness, or other less desirable body traits.

Measurement Instructions

Measurement Video