Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Ohio State creates gene chip for horse


Alicia Bertone

Researchers at Ohio State University have created a DNA gene chip that contains thousands of the genes for a horse and one of the first gene chips for a domestic animal.

The new chip houses more than 3,200 expressed horse genes on a sliver of glass about the size of a postage stamp. When the researchers began developing this chip two years ago, only 200 horse genes were known.

This new chip will allow researchers to scan an individual horses genes at once to see which ones are active in a certain situation. For example, drug companies might use a gene chip to predict how a particular drug will affect an animal.

Since their invention nearly a decade ago, gene chips have revolutionized some basic approaches to research. Having a representative gene chip for a large animal could lead to better accuracy in studying human disease. Commercial gene chips already exist for humans, mice, rats, rice plants and a number of microorganisms.

"Although we rely on animal models to study human diseases, we really aren’t sure what some of the genetic differences are between those animal models and humans," said Alicia Bertone, the professor of veterinary clinical sciences who led Ohio State’s efforts in developing the equine gene chip.

"The genetic differences between humans and most animals are small in most cases, more than 90 percent of our DNA is similar," Bertone said. Knowing which genes are similar can be a boon to researchers who use animal models to learn about human diseases.

"Gene chips can help uncover these key differences, giving us critical information before we launch into an experiment," Bertone said. "The scientific community has invested a lot of money in animal models that don’t truly represent the human situation, so having this kind of information is extremely beneficial."

Bertone developed the chip with the help of Weisong Gu, a postdoctoral researcher in veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State. Gu created a computer program that helped he and Bertone discover and describe 3,088 horse genes. They added these genes to the 200 already-known genes to create the chip. In order to define the genes, the researchers compared sequences of horse DNA to already-known human genes. Bertone said there are likely thousands of more genes yet to be identified for the horse.

Data derived from the equine gene chip could give researchers insight into gene expression for specific equine and human diseases and conditions. For example, gene chips let researchers see how thousands of genes respond to an illness. This information can be used clinically to study disease in horses and in translational research from horse to human.

"The closer we can demonstrate that an animal model really mimics a human disease, the better off we are," said Bertone, adding that horses are often used as models for orthopedic diseases, such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrosis a disease that inhibits bone growth. The equine gene chip can also be used to identify horse diseases such as equine protozoal myelitis (EPM), a debilitating neurological disease. Also, testing a drug or other therapy is typically done in large animals, such as horses, dogs and cats, before being tested on humans.

"More accurate animal models mean we’ll spend less money on and use fewer animals for finding cures," Bertone said. "Billions of dollars are invested in developing drugs that work really well in mice but fail in larger animal models and humans."

The new equine chip includes genes that regulate cell death, the cell cycle, cell signaling and development. The cost of the chip is around $350 to $450.

This work was supported in part by Affymetrix, Inc., the manufacturer of a variety of gene chips.

Contact: Alicia Bertone, 614-292-6661;
Written by Holly Wagner, (614) 292-8310;

Holly Wagner | OSU
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>