Research

Leading the field in equine genomics research

Plusvital has an extensive research team led by Chief Science Officer, Professor Emmeline Hill. Our team of world-leading scientists has expertise in molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, equine exercise physiology, veterinary science, statistics and nutrition.

Our research is ongoing and ensures the most accurate and informative tests for genetic performance potential. Members of our research team have published over 200 scientific papers and 9 book chapters. A selection of these papers can be read by clicking the links and entering your details below.

Plusvital currently have a close research relationship with University College Dublin, Ireland, with global links to elite breeders and trainers within the Thoroughbred industry. We combine state-of-the-art genomics technology with large numbers of top-class horses at various stages of training and competition. We have tested over 14,000 horses, and over 1,000 Black Type individuals. Our clients are based in 28 countries, including all major racing jurisdictions.

Research Papers

History and integrity of Thoroughbred dam lines revealed in equine mtDNA variation.

31 Mar 2017

History and integrity of Thoroughbred dam lines revealed in equine mtDNA variation. This paper marked the first application of genetic technologies towards a scientific understanding of the Thoroughbred. Using a combination of molecular (mitochondrial DNA) and... / Read more »

A genome scan for positive selection in Thoroughbred horses.

31 Mar 2017

A genome scan for positive selection in Thoroughbred horses. This study reports regions of the Thoroughbred horse genome that have been targets for selection during the 300-year development of the racehorse and strong candidate performance genes including thos... / Read more »

Evidence for biogeographic patterning of mitochondrial DNA sequences in Eastern horse populations.

31 Mar 2017

Evidence for biogeographic patterning of mitochondrial DNA sequences in Eastern horse populations. The origins of equine domestication are unclear, but from this study of equine mitochondrial DNA, it seems that there were multiple and repeated, although not ne... / Read more »

Mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity in extant Irish horse populations and in ancient horses.

31 Mar 2017

Mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity in extant Irish horse populations and in ancient horses. Mitochondrial DNA in Ireland’s three native horse populations (Irish Draught, Kerry Bog Pony, and Connemara Pony) was analysed to investigate each breeds’ genetic... / Read more »

Genome sequence, comparative analysis and population genetics of the domestic horse (Equus caballus).

31 Mar 2017

Genome sequence, comparative analysis and population genetics of the domestic horse (Equus caballus). This manuscript describes the horse genome – the entire complement of genetic material that is inherited from one generation to the next. Wade CM, Giulotto ... / Read more »

Transcriptional adaptations following exercise in Thoroughbred horse skeletal muscle highlight molecular mechanisms that lead to muscle hypertrophy.

31 Mar 2017

Transcriptional adaptations following exercise in Thoroughbred horse skeletal muscle highlight molecular mechanisms that lead to muscle hypertrophy. This study describes the molecular response to exercise in equine skeletal muscle and the process that leads to... / Read more »

A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in Thoroughbred horses.

31 Mar 2017

A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in Thoroughbred horses. This study describes the discovery of myostatin as the Speed Gene and the development of the Equinome Speed Gene Test. Myostatin, a negative regulator of musc... / Read more »

Alterations in oxidative gene expression in equine skeletal muscle following exercise and training.

31 Mar 2017

Alterations in oxidative gene expression in equine skeletal muscle following exercise and training. The molecular adaptation to exercise was studied through analysing gene expression in skeletal muscle biopsies before, immediately after and four hours followin... / Read more »

Characterization of the equine skeletal muscle transcriptome identifies novel functional responses to exercise training.

31 Mar 2017

Characterization of the equine skeletal muscle transcriptome identifies novel functional responses to exercise training. Exercise training in the Thoroughbred racehorse results in co-ordinate changes in gene expression of functional groups of genes related to ... / Read more »

The cosmopolitan maternal heritage of the Thoroughbred racehorse breed shows a significant contribution from British and Irish mares.

31 Mar 2017

The cosmopolitan maternal heritage of the Thoroughbred racehorse breed shows a significant contribution from British and Irish mares. Mitochondrial DNA from 1929 horses was examined to determine the origin of the Thoroughbred foundation mares. Some historical ... / Read more »

A genome-wide SNP-association study confirms a sequence variant (g.66493737C>T) in the equine myostatin (MSTN) gene as the most powerful predictor of optimum racing distance for Thoroughbred racehorses.

31 Mar 2017

A genome-wide SNP-association study confirms a sequence variant (g.66493737C>T) in the equine myostatin (MSTN) gene as the most powerful predictor of optimum racing distance for Thoroughbred racehorses. This study assessed the genome-wide relevance of the s... / Read more »

Moderate and high intensity sprint exercise induce differential responses in COX4I2 and PDK4 gene expression in Thoroughbred horse skeletal muscle.

31 Mar 2017

Moderate and high intensity sprint exercise induce differential responses in COX4I2 and PDK4 gene expression in Thoroughbred horse skeletal muscle. Gene expression was investigated in skeletal muscle biopsy samples collected before and after high intensity spr... / Read more »

Association of sequence variants in CKM (creatine kinase, muscle) and COX4I2 (cytochrome c oxidase, subunit 4, isoform 2) genes with racing performance in Thoroughbred horses.

31 Mar 2017

Association of sequence variants in CKM (creatine kinase, muscle) and COX4I2 (cytochrome c oxidase, subunit 4, isoform 2) genes with racing performance in Thoroughbred horses. This study aimed to identify the relationship between sequence variants (SNPs) in pe... / Read more »

The association of various speed indices to training responses in Thoroughbred flat racehorses measured with a global positioning and heart rate monitoring system.

31 Mar 2017

The association of various speed indices to training responses in Thoroughbred flat racehorses measured with a global positioning and heart rate monitoring system. This study utilised GPS and heart rate monitors to examine whether speed indices, including maxi... / Read more »

Circadian regulation of locomotor activity and skeletal muscle gene expression in the horse.

31 Mar 2017

Circadian regulation of locomotor activity and skeletal muscle gene expression in the horse. This study demonstrates that equine muscle function is influenced by circadian rhythms (body clock), especially when stabled. Physical activity can act to synchronise ... / Read more »

Targets of selection in the Thoroughbred genome contain exercise-relevant gene SNPs associated with elite racecourse performance.

31 Mar 2017

Targets of selection in the Thoroughbred genome contain exercise-relevant gene SNPs associated with elite racecourse performance. This study investigated variation in 17 putative exercise-relevant genes in a panel of Group race winning and non-winning Thorough... / Read more »

Genome-wide SNP association-based localization of a dwarfism gene in Friesian dwarf horses.

31 Mar 2017

Genome-wide SNP association-based localization of a dwarfism gene in Friesian dwarf horses. The availability of the equine genome and commercial availability of an equine SNP genotyping array has facilitated the mapping of disease genes. This study reported th... / Read more »

Sequence variants at the myostatin gene locus influence the body composition of Thoroughbred horses.

31 Mar 2017

Sequence variants at the myostatin gene locus influence the body composition of Thoroughbred horses. This study examined the effect of myostatin genotype on body composition in 91 male and female Thoroughbred horses prior to the onset of training. Significant ... / Read more »

The genetic origin and history of speed in the Thoroughbred racehorse.

31 Mar 2017

The genetic origin and history of speed in the Thoroughbred racehorse. Selective breeding has resulted in an unusually high frequency of the C allele at the myostatin gene in Thoroughbred horses best suited to sprint racing. While the C allele was rare among t... / Read more »

A high density SNP array for the domestic horse and extant Perissodactyla: utility for association mapping, genetic diversity, and phylogeny studies.

31 Mar 2017

A high density SNP array for the domestic horse and extant Perissodactyla: utility for association mapping, genetic diversity, and phylogeny studies. We utilized the previously generated horse genome sequence and a large SNP database to design a ~54,000 SNP as... / Read more »

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