Horses: an underutilized animal model

B.D. Velie, M. Shrestha, A. Schurink, B.J. Ducro, L. Francois, N. Buys, S. Eriksson, C.J. Rubin, L. Andersson, A. Andersson, G. lindgren

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Horses provide an opportunity to study unique phenotypes that can lead to fundamental biological insights as well as help to decipher mechanisms underlying biological and disease processes. At present, we have three horse projects with preliminary results that may serve as models for investigating gene functions in mammals. A GWAS of equine insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH), an allergic recurrent seasonal dermatitis classed as a type I and type IV hypersensitive reaction, suggests the importance of two genomic regions on Chromosome 8 (ECA8). An increased knowledge of the genes involved in the manifestation of IBH is expected to not only improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of equine IBH, but may also broaden our understanding of the biology underlying type I and type IV hypersensitive reactions across species. Observed in a wide range of species including humans, a second project concerns polydactyly, a genetic defect that presents as an increased number of digits. Preliminary analyses of a family of ponies suggest a recessive mode of inheritance in horses. Through whole-genome re-sequencing of this family (n=5) we aimed to confirm this mode of inheritance and identify the causative locus. Additionally, Delta F STanalyses of harness racing breeds have identified specific candidate regions that harbor genes selected for athletic performance. These regions contain genes known to be involved in energy metabolism and cell growth. Genes that regulate energy metabolism and other biological processes that impact racing performance have the potential to improve our understanding of metabolic defects and diseases in horses as well as in other species. At the meeting we will present results from the three aforementioned studies and comment on the fact that in some circumstances the horse may provide unique knowledge of biological pathways that may not otherwise be fully understood.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Event29th International Mammalian Genome Conference - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 Nov 201511 Nov 2015


Conference29th International Mammalian Genome Conference


  • Animal model

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