The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) has introduced the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), as its official genetic testing provider effective Jan. 1, 2012. The APHA requires genetic parentage testing for all breeding stallions, racehorses, foals produced by certain breeding methods, and horses with certain registration situations.

"APHA's affiliation with UC Davis is an exciting move for us," said Lex Smurthwaite, executive director of the APHA. "We will now be able to offer members a wide range of testing to improve breeding chances for specific colors and to avoid potential diseases."

In addition to the parentage verification test currently offered, UC Davis will also offer APHA members two optional packages to test for color genes and diseases.

Paint Horses are unique from most other breeds because of their spotted coat patterns. Their base coats are the same colors as those of other breeds, but superimposed over these colors are a variety of white spotting patterns. One of the optional packages is the comprehensive coat color package, which will test for 11 color genes including tobiano, sabino, lethal white, and others. The ability to recognize these patterns and understand the genetics behind them is essential for Paint Horse breeders to increase the proportion of spotted horses in foal crops.

The second optional package is the complete disease diagnostic package, which will test for several genetically transferred diseases including hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), overo lethal white syndrome (OLWS), hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), and glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED).

Breeders interested in finding out more in-depth information about their horses will benefit from the technology UC Davis can provide. Paint Horse owners can gain additional insight by using these two new options to test their horses for diseases and color genes.

Paint Horse owners and breeders will be able to utilize the comprehensive genetic testing options beginning Jan. 1, 2012. For additional information contact Cindy Grier, APHA Field Services Managing Director, at or by calling 817/834-APHA (2742).

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