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National Animal Genome Research Program
Department of Veterinary Sciences
Biological research is best conducted in context of the most complete genomic information available for the species in question. The horse benefits from the strong homology that exists among mammals and the recent completion of a whole genome sequence for the horse. This information is a valuable tool that will enhance and enable new research in diverse areas of horse health and welfare including genetics, infectious disease investigations, reproductive physiology, therapeutics, nutrition and general physiology.
Although a genome sequence has been completed, research in this area is needed to make the information more readily available through bioinformatics portals, create new tools to take advantage of this resource and to provide expertise in collaborative activities to harvest the fruit of these new tools. Success of this activity will be apparent as the creation of new information that will be published in scientific and lay media as well as the development of new diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatments to benefit the health and welfare of horses.
2011 Project Description
During 2011 scientists from the horse genome workshop committee met on three occasions, specifically at the Plant and Animal Genome (PAG) meeting in San Diego during January 2011, at the Equine Science Society Meeting, May 30-June 3, in Murfreesboro, TN and at the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Horse Genome Conference in Minnesota during July 27-29. Scientists presented the results of research activities at their stations and discussed collaborative research. The three meetings involved different scientists but there was some overlap in participation.
The focus of discussions was on the need for improved bioinformatics resources, improved infrastructure of the horse genome and sequencing of additional horses using NEXTGEN technology. Committees were formed and we anticipate plans to coordinate sequencing of additional horses and improved annotation of the horse genome. In addition presentations were made to industry stakeholders including groups representing the Thoroughbred industry, Arabian horse industry and practicing veterinarians.
At a general meeting of the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer workshops including scientists working in the areas of infectious diseases, reproduction, immunology, sports medicine and genomics scientists presented research using the genomics tools in each of the areas as well as discussed using the technology for future research.
In research at the University of Kentucky, genomics was applied to investigations of equine infectious anemia virus, parasite infestations of foals and cytogenetics. Genetic markers were discovered and reported for equine arteritis virus.
During 2011 scientists participating in the workshop made numerous reports on genetic influences on performance and disease in horses as a consequence of resources developed in the workshop or through collaborations.
Several projects continue at the University of Kentucky into 2012 however during 2011 we reported on genes associated with susceptibility to Equine Arteritis Virus (EAV)pathology, inbreeding levels among Thoroughbred horses and sex reversal syndromes in horses.
The work on EAV should lead to improved vaccines or therapies designed to eliminate the virus carrier state in stallions. The information about inbreeding levels in Thoroughbred horses will be beneficial to The Jockey Club in determining breeding policies. The information about sex reversal will be useful to breeders and veterinarians in managing horses.
Bailey, E. (2011) Screening for Foal Immunodeficiencey Syndrome. Veterinary Record 169: 653-654
Go , Y.Y., Bailey E., Cook D., Coleman S., MacLeod J., Chen K-C, Timoney P., and Balasuriya U.B. (2011) Genome-Wide Association Study Among Four Horse Breeds Identifies a Common Haplotype Associated with the In Vitro CD3+ T Cell Susceptibility/Resistance to Equine Arteritis Virus Infection. J. Virol. 85:13174-13184.
Lear, T.L., McGee, R.B. (2011). Disorders of sexual development in the domestic horse, Equus caballus: a review. Sexual Development DOI: 10.1159/000334048.
Villagomez, D.A.F., Lear, T.L., Chenier, T., Lee, S., Cahill, J., Foster, R.A., Reyes, E., St John, E., King, W.A. (2011). Equine disorders of sex development; XX SRY-negative, XY SRY-negative and XY SRY-positive genotypes in mares. Sexual Development, 15:16-25.