Inaugural Teri Lear Memorial Lecture Focused on Cytogenetics

Inaugural Teri Lear Memorial Lecture Focused on Cytogenetics

Equine genetics researcher Teri L. Lear, PhD (here with her beloved horse Bisquette), passed away in 2016. Her colleague Terje Raudsepp, PhD, gave a lecture in her honor in conjunction with the Gluck Center’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Photo: Courtesy Patrick Pfister/Gluck Equine Research Center

On Oct. 12, Terje Raudsepp, PhD, a professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in College Station, honored her late friend and research collaborator by presenting the inaugural Teri Lear Memorial Lecture.

Her lecture on “the science and art of animal cytogenetics” took place in conjunction with the University of Kentucky (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center’s 30th Anniversary Research Seminar.

Teri L. Lear, PhD, was an equine genetics researcher and associate professor at the Gluck Center who passed away last year. Lear was one of the foremost experts in cytogenetics of the horse. During her time at the Gluck Center, she published numerous studies on equine genetics, trained masters and doctoral students, and was one of the leaders in the Horse Genome Project that resulted in the first description of a horse’s DNA sequence. Lear valued training graduate students, participating in conferences, and meeting scientists from around the world.

“My talk was aimed to show Dr. Teri Lear’s inspirational contribution to the science of equine cytogenetics and convey a message that chromosome analysis is and will remain an important approach for evaluating genetic soundness of breeding animals,” Raudsepp said. “My goal was to underscore that the era of genome sequencing has not diminished the value of cytogenetics.”

Raudsepp said improvements in the accuracy of identifying chromosomal rearrangements and understanding their impact on animal health and reproduction have improved due to new molecular tools and emerging knowledge about animal genomes.

She said the most common reasons for submitting an equine sample for chromosome analysis is reduced fertility or infertility or sexual development disorders. She provided several examples from equine cytogenetics studies at Texas A&M in 2017 to illustrate chromosome analysis.

Raudsepp described specific groups of chromosome abnormalities, including X-monosomy (Turner syndrome), which is the most frequent chromosome abnormality in horses. She also explained autosomal trisomies (similar to Down syndrome in humans) and autosomal translocations. These are a concern to the horse industry because the syndrome can be passed down from generation to generation where they result in subfertility issues.

“I brought an example of an autosomal translocation in one elite horse family,” she said. “I showed that the translocation was in a popular stallion and he passed it over to five out of his nine foals.”

The Teri Lear Memorial Fund was created to invite lecturers to the Gluck Center and support graduate student travel to scientific conferences. Gifts to the fund are considered tax-deductible. Mail checks, payable to the University of Kentucky and designate “Teri L. Lear Memorial Fund” in the memo, to UK Gluck Equine Research Center, Attn: Danielle Jostes, 108 Gluck Equine Research Center, Lexington, KY 40546-0099.

Katie Lampert is a marketing and communications intern at the UK Gluck Equine Research Cent

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