EQUUS - - Applied Genetics -

For as much as equine ge­netic test­ing has ex­panded over the years, one type of test isn’t avail­able yet. “We don’t yet have a test that can tell us what breed or mix of breeds is in an in­di­vid­ual horse,” says Kathryn Graves, PhD, of the Gluck Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky. “We would be very pop­u­lar if we could of­fer this test, be­cause we get re­quests for it sev­eral times each week.” The chal­lenge is that many of our mod­ern breeds de­scend from the same foun­da­tion stock, and re­searchers don’t yet have enough ge­netic pro­files of in­di­vid­ual horses of dif­fer­ent breeds to be able to dis­tin­guish them. “While breed iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pure­bred horses is more eas­ily done, de­ter­mi­na­tion of breed con­tri­bu­tions in cross­bred horses is a far more com­plex prob­lem,” says Ce­cilia Penedo, PhD, of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia– Davis. “Per­haps in the near fu­ture, this lim­i­ta­tion may be over­come by care­ful se­lec­tion of DNA mark­ers for breed com­po­si­tion tests to be­come more in­for­ma­tive and ac­cu­rate.”

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