Equine Genome Horse Course Available for Viewing

The latest Horse Course from the University's of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center and Gluck Equine Research Center and presented by Fort Dodge Animal Health is now available for viewing on TheHorse.com. This presentation is on the Equine Genome and tells us what genomics breakthroughs are teaching us about our horses' physiology, and a summary of health problems this information might help solve.

"Unlike a typical research seminar that deals with an overly focused aspect of the problem, or a clinical presentation that emphasizes diagnosis and treatment, we combine each aspect into a singular presentation that in one hour's time highlights the most important aspects of the particular topic," said David Horohov, William Robert Mills Chair in Equine Immunology and faculty member at the University of Kentucky's Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center.

Horohov and Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, director of the university's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center, created the original seminar series and select speakers for each seminar.

"Research findings are often unavailable for up to two years in the medical and lay literature," said Carter. "The Webcasts of the University of Kentucky Equine Diagnostic-Research Seminar series being offered by TheHorse.com are just the ticket. Now, anyone in the world with Web access will be able to digest and use the content of these extremely high-quality seminars presented by some of the greatest minds in equine medicine and surgery."

Equine Genome Horse Course

The University of Kentucky's Ernie Bailey, PhD, geneticist and professor of veterinary science, and Jamie MacLeod, VMD, PhD, professor of veterinary science and Knight Chair for Musculoskeletal Sciences at the Gluck Center, discussed the mapping and sequencing of the equine genome, which happened largely over the past 10 years. They described current applications of the genome to equine health and the problems/mysteries they hope to solve by studying it.

Bailey and his colleagues in the equine research community realized to solve many of the mysteries behind why certain horses have certain traits, and how different diseases or injuries might be solved at the level of the gene, they would need to map the equine genome. He and other researchers made a case to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) when it was looking for animal genomes to sequence after it had successfully completed the human and several other species. The group was successful in their promoting the horse as a candidate, and the horse genome was sequenced and assembled in 2006.  

The research applications of the sequenced equine genome are endless, and discoveries will trickle down and affect how we manage our horses. Bailey gave an example of one application that's under way in which a researcher is comparing 20 Miniature Horses with dwarfism to 20 that don't have dwarfism and trying to target what genes are causing the trait so breeders can avoid the problem.

Other researchers are studying contracted tendons and the equine musculoskeletal system, including muscle patterns and other traits closely connected with equine sports medicine.

MacLeod is using the genome sequence to study changes in gene expression that are important to the pathology of joint diseases, including osteoarthritis. In addition to understanding more about joint disease, he suggests researchers might be able to better optimize dosing of intra-articular medications by examining how chondrocytes (cartilage cells) are responding in the injured joint.

Watch it now

Watch the Horse Course on horse genomics, view other archived Horse Courses, and sign up for upcoming installments at TheHorse.com/HorseCourses. Other recent additions to the Horse Course library are Encephalitides (West Nile virus, etc.), Metabolic Disorders, Pituitary Dysfunction, and Angular Limb Deformities.

NOTE: This topic was a substitution for the Horse Course on melanomas, which was postponed by the organizers. TheHorse.com will alert you when that topic is scheduled for discussion.

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