Gluck Faculty Attend Plant and Animal Genome Conference

Researchers and graduate students from the University of Kentucky's (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center attended the annual Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG), held Jan. 9 through 13 in San Diego, Calif., to share equine genomic research and resources with scientists from around the globe.

Major past accomplishments of the workshop include the creation of an equine genetic map and arranging for sequencing of the horse by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Continued activities of the conference this year included developing equine genomic information and tools. Many of the presentations also dealt with application of those tools to address diverse health problems for the horse.

"An amazing new chapter in equine biomedical health research is now under way," said James MacLeod, VMD, PhD, John S. and Elizabeth A. Knight Chair, professor of Veterinary Science at the Gluck Equine Research Center and director of the Equine Initiative at UK. "Equine genomics has entered an exciting phase of research application. Our understanding of the equine genome has progressed to the point where scientists can identify and study genetic determinants and molecular mechanisms of important horse diseases and traits of interest with unprecedented sensitivity, specificity, and technical efficiency."

The USDA Animal Genome invited MacLeod to the conference to make a presentation about his research regarding gene expression in the horse.

Others from the Gluck Center who attended this year included Ernie Bailey, PhD, as well as graduate students Stephen Coleman, Lauren Defletsen, Deborah Cook, and Rose McGee.

Since 1996 Bailey and Teri Lear, PhD, have attended the PAG as UK faculty representatives. Jim Boling, PhD, former UK Associate Dean of Research in the College of Agriculture first encouraged Bailey to attend the conference in 1992, with the idea of developing a horse workshop.

Other scientists at the conference hailed from California, Minnesota, New York, and Texas, and from Australia, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Rebecca Bellone, PhD, an associate professor of biology at the University of Tampa and former UK graduate student, chaired this year's conference. Conference attendees elected Samantha Brooks, PhD, as secretary for the 2011 meeting and chair of the 2012 meeting. She is also an associate professor at Cornell University and a former UK graduate student.

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More information on Gluck Equine Research Center, and UK's Equine Initiative.

About the Author

Christy M. West

Christy West has a BS in Equine Science from the University of Kentucky, and an MS in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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