Genome Chosen as $2.5-Million Consortium Project

Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) and the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine (UM) announced on Aug. 9 that the foundation has committed to raise $2.5 million over five years to fund the consortium project titled "Program in Equine Medical Genetics."

The MAF aims to raise up to $500,000 a year for this project, which will combine the expertise of more than 18 institutions in nine countries around the world.

Kristin Benjamin, vice president of scientific programs and advancement for MAF, in Englewood, Colo., said, "The equine medical genetics project rose to the top, as it was the top model for our original idea of a consortium grant. Many equine geneticists participating in this project have collaborated for years."

Jim Mickelson, PhD, professor in UM's Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, will direct the group of researchers.

The equine sequenced genome will provide consortium scientists with valuable tools for solving common equine diseases and disorders at the DNA level.

"They will take a look at specific genes and mutations that regulate development and impact disease," Benjamin said. "By identifying these genes, they're hoping to minimize diseases such as forms of tying-up and HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) as well as understanding genetic influences on complex diseases such as laminitis, arthritis, osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD), and recurrent airway obstruction, or heaves."

See www.TheHorse.com/emag.aspx?id=7296.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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