Findings from the genome sequence have important implications for improved breeding of horses, which constitute a $39 billion industry in the United States alone, and for studies of human health. They will be reported in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal Science.
"This very high-quality genome sequence of the horse is important because it gives us access to specific sequence information that we can now apply to identify the genes for specific traits in the horse," said geneticist Cecilia Penedo of UC Davis' Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, a co-author on the paper.
As a collaborator in the international Horse Genome Project, Penedo contributed to the genome sequencing effort by supplying DNA from Arabian horses and quarter horses and by working on a horse linkage map, which identified genetic markers for various traits across the horse chromosomes.
Also collaborating on the project from UC Davis were James Murray, a professor of animal science who has worked with the Horse Genome Project since its inception in 1995, and Stephanie Pedroni, then a UC Davis staff researcher and genetics graduate student
"Having access to multiple genome sequences makes it easier to understand all genomes, including our own," Murray said. "By looking at the horse genome, we can better understand human biology and human diseases."
In reporting the horse genome sequence, the researchers noted that there are more than 90 hereditary conditions that affect both humans and horses. Because horses share these conditions, which include infertility, inflammatory diseases and muscle disorders, the horse is an important model for improving the understanding of human diseases.
The sequencing project revealed that the horse genome is somewhat larger than the dog genome and smaller than the human and cow genomes. In comparing the horse and human chromosomes, the researchers discovered that 17 out of 32 -- or 53 percent of -- horse chromosome pairs are composed of material from a single human chromosome, while only 29 percent of dog chromosomes are composed of material from a single human chromosome. This indicates that fewer chromosome rearrangements separate humans from horses than separate humans from dogs.
The researchers were also surprised to find on horse chromosome 11 the existence of an evolutionarily new centromere. Centromeres are key structural features of chromosomes that are necessary for the movement of chromosomes when cells divide, a function that ensures normal distribution of all genetic material to each daughter cell. The functional but evolutionarily immature centromere in the horse may provide a model to study factors responsible for how centromeres function.
Penedo noted that the completion of the high-quality horse genome sequence has provided researchers around the world with ready access to specific gene sequences that can be applied to mapping various traits of the horse.
She and genetics graduate student Leah Brault are using this information in their research focused on identifying the cause of equine cerebellar abiotrophy, a genetic, neurological condition found almost exclusively in Arabian horses. Studies have shown that a horse can carry the gene for equine cerebellar abiotrophy and not be affected by it. However, if two horses carrying the gene are bred, there is a 25-percent likelihood that the resulting foal will manifest the condition, which causes serious neurological problems including head tremors and poor equilibrium.
The sequencing of the horse genome was funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Morris Animal Foundation, and the Programmi di Ricerca Scientifica di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale.
-- Cecilia Penedo, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, (530) 752-7460 email@example.com
-- James Murray, Animal Science, (530) 752-3179, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patricia Bailey | EurekAlert!
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy