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Plusvital

Research Papers

Keep up to date on all the latest equine news on nutrition, genetic and scientific developments with Plusvital.

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 15,000 horses, and over 1,000 Black Type individuals. Our clients are based in over 35 countries, including all major racing jurisdictions.

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Genomic Inbreeding Trends, Influential Sire Lines And Selection In The Global Thoroughbred Horse Population

Genomic Inbreeding Trends, Influential Sire Lines And Selection In The Global Thoroughbred Horse Population The Thoroughbred horse is a highly valued domestic animal population under strong selection for athletic phenotypes. Here we present a high resolution genomics-based analysis of inbreeding in the population that may form the basis for evidence-based discussion amid concerns in the...
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The “Speed Gene” Effect Of Myostatin Arises In Thoroughbred Horses Due To A Promoter Proximal SINE Insertion

The “Speed Gene” Effect Of Myostatin Arises In Thoroughbred Horses Due To A Promoter Proximal SINE Insertion The “Speed Gene” Effect Of Myostatin Arises In Thoroughbred Horses Due To A Promoter Proximal SINE Insertion: Thoroughbred horses are finely-tuned athletes with a high aerobic capacity relative to skeletal muscle mass, attributable to centuries of genetic selection...
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Genetic Contributions To Precocity Traits In Racing Thoroughbreds

Genetic Contributions To Precocity Traits In Racing Thoroughbreds Genetic Contributions To Precocity Traits In Racing Thoroughbreds: A new scientific paper describing the genetic contributions to precocity traits in Thoroughbreds has been published in the journal Animal Genetics. The research reports that the ‘Speed Gene’ (myostatin) is the gene that has the strongest contribution to precocity...
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Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Bioenergetics And Associations With Myostatin Genotypes In The Thoroughbred Horse

Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Bioenergetics And Associations With Myostatin Genotypes In The Thoroughbred Horse Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Bioenergetics And Associations With Myostatin Genotypes In The Thoroughbred Horse: Variation in the myostatin (MSTN) gene has been reported to be associated with race distance, body composition and skeletal muscle fibre composition in the horse. Variation in the myostatin (MSTN) gene has been...
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History And Integrity Of Thoroughbred Dam Lines Revealed In Equine mtDNA Variation

History And Integrity Of Thoroughbred Dam Lines Revealed In Equine mtDNA Variation. 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 historical (pedigree) information some of the founder...
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A Genome Scan For Positive Selection In Thoroughbred Horses

A Genome Scan For Positive Selection In Thoroughbred Horses 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 those involved in insulin signalling, fat substrate utilisation and...
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Evidence For Biogeographic Patterning Of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences In Eastern Horse Populations

Evidence For Biogeographic Patterning Of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences In Eastern Horse Populations 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 necessarily independent, domestication events that likely...
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Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Diversity In Extant Irish Horse Populations And In Ancient Horses

Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Diversity In Extant Irish Horse Populations And In Ancient Horses 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 make-up and origins. Irish Draught horses...
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Transcriptional Adaptations Following Exercise In Thoroughbred Horse Skeletal Muscle Highlight Molecular Mechanisms That Lead To Muscle Hypertrophy

Transcriptional Adaptations Following Exercise In Thoroughbred Horse Skeletal Muscle Highlight Molecular Mechanisms That Lead To Muscle Hypertrophy 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 hypertrophy. Exercise stimulates...
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Alterations In Oxidative Gene Expression In Equine Skeletal Muscle Following Exercise And Training

Alterations In Oxidative Gene Expression In Equine Skeletal Muscle Following Exercise And Training 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 following exercise. Significant differences in gene expression following...
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Characterization Of The Equine Skeletal Muscle Transcriptome Identifies Novel Functional Responses To Exercise Training

Equine Skeletal Muscle Transcriptome Identifies Novel Functional Responses To Exercise Training 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 metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation and muscle structure. Myostatin is central to the adaptation of...
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The Cosmopolitan Maternal Heritage Of The Thoroughbred Racehorse Breed Shows A Significant Contribution From British And Irish Mares

The Cosmopolitan Maternal Heritage Of The Thoroughbred Racehorse Breed Shows A Significant Contribution From British And Irish Mares 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 records...
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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

A Genome-Wide SNP-Association Study Confirms A Sequence Variant (g.66493737CT) In The Equine Myostatin (MSTN) Gene As The Most Powerful Predictor Of Optimum Racing Distance For Thoroughbred Racehorses A Genome-Wide SNP-Association Study Confirms A Sequence Variant (g.66493737CT) In The Equine Myostatin (MSTN) Gene As The Most Powerful Predictor Of Optimum Racing Distance For Thoroughbred Racehorses: This...
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Moderate And High Intensity Sprint Exercise Induce Differential Responses In COX4I2 And PDK4 Gene Expression In Thoroughbred Horse Skeletal Muscle

Moderate And High Intensity Sprint Exercise Induce Differential Responses In COX4I2 And PDK4 Gene Expression In Thoroughbred Horse Skeletal Muscle 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...
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Association Of Sequence Variants In CKM And COX4I2 Genes With Racing Performance In Thoroughbred Horses

Association Of Sequence Variants In CKM And COX4I2 Genes With Racing Performance In Thoroughbred Horses Association Of Sequence Variants In CKM And COX4I2 Genes With Racing Performance In Thoroughbred Horses: This study aimed to identify the relationship between sequence variants (SNPs) in performance related genes in the Thoroughbred racehorse and racecourse performance. Three SNPs in...
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The Association Of Various Speed Indices To Training Responses In Thoroughbred Flat Racehorses Measured With A Global Positioning And Heart Rate Monitoring System

The Association Of Various Speed Indices To Training Responses In Thoroughbred Flat Racehorses Measured With A Global Positioning And Heart Rate Monitoring System 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...
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Circadian Regulation Of Locomotor Activity And Skeletal Muscle Gene Expression In The Horse

Circadian Regulation Of Locomotor Activity And Skeletal Muscle Gene Expression In The Horse 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 molecular clocks, leading to increased gene...
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Targets Of Selection In The Thoroughbred Genome Contain Exercise-Relevant Gene SNPs Associated With Elite Racecourse Performance

Targets Of Selection In The Thoroughbred Genome Contain Exercise-Relevant Gene SNPs Associated With Elite Racecourse Performance 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 Thoroughbred horses. Genetic variants in...
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A High Density SNP Array For The Domestic Horse And Extant Perissodactyla: Utility For Association Mapping, Genetic Diversity And Phylogeny Studies

A High Density SNP Array For The Domestic Horse And Extant Perissodactyla: Utility For Association Mapping, Genetic Diversity And Phylogeny Studies 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...
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MSTN Genotype Association With Speed Indices In Thoroughbred Racehorses

MSTN Genotype Association With Speed Indices In Thoroughbred Racehorses MSTN Genotype Association With Speed Indices In Thoroughbred Racehorses: This study examined the association of myostatin genotype with speed indices in Thoroughbred racehorses. Horses with the C:C genotype obtained significantly higher speeds than T:T horses, accelerated more rapidly and covered a significantly greater distance before reaching...
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A Cohort Study Of Racing Performance In Japanese Thoroughbred Racehorses Using Genome Information On ECA18

A Cohort Study Of Racing Performance In Japanese Thoroughbred Racehorses Using Genome Information On ECA18 A Cohort Study Of Racing Performance In Japanese Thoroughbred Racehorses Using Genome Information On ECA18: Previous studies indicated that genotype at the myostatin gene in Thoroughbred horses may be predictive of best racing distance aptitude and lifetime earnings in the...
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PGC-1α Encoded By The PPARGC1A Gene Regulates Oxidative Energy Metabolism In Equine Skeletal Muscle During Exercise

PGC-1α Encoded By The PPARGC1A Gene Regulates Oxidative Energy Metabolism In Equine Skeletal Muscle During Exercise PGC-1α Encoded By The PPARGC1A Gene Regulates Oxidative Energy Metabolism In Equine Skeletal Muscle During Exercise: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-y coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) is a critical control factor in the adaptation of skeletal muscle to exercise, and to understand this...
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MSTN Genotypes In Thoroughbred Horses Influence Skeletal Muscle Gene Expression And Racetrack Performance

MSTN Genotypes In Thoroughbred Horses Influence Skeletal Muscle Gene Expression And Racetrack Performance MSTN Genotypes In Thoroughbred Horses Influence Skeletal Muscle Gene Expression And Racetrack Performance: This study demonstrates that myostatin may have multiple functions at different stages of development. Muscle biopsies were taken from yearling Thoroughbreds prior to the initiation of training and then...
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Mitochondrial DNA D-Loop Sequence Variation In Maternal Lineages Of Iranian Native Horses

Mitochondrial DNA D-Loop Sequence Variation In Maternal Lineages Of Iranian Native Horses Mitochondrial DNA D-Loop Sequence Variation In Maternal Lineages Of Iranian Native Horses: Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of horses in Iran as early as 3000 BC. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) D-loop sequences were generated for 95 horses from five breeds, sampled in eight geographical...
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Thoroughbred Racehorse Mitochondrial DNA Demonstrates Closer Than Expected Links Between Maternal Genetic History And Pedigree Records

Thoroughbred Racehorse Mitochondrial DNA Demonstrates Closer Than Expected Links Between Maternal Genetic History And Pedigree Records Thoroughbred Racehorse Mitochondrial DNA Demonstrates Closer Than Expected Links Between Maternal Genetic History And Pedigree Records: Pedigree analysis is one of the main methods used to ascertain future potential for racing performance. Despite the importance of pedigree, there is...
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Genome-Wide Association Study Of Osteochondrosis In The Tarsocrural Joint Of Dutch Warmblood Horses Identifies Susceptibility Loci On Chromosomes 3 And 10

Genome-Wide Association Study Of Osteochondrosis In The Tarsocrural Joint Of Dutch Warmblood Horses Identifies Susceptibility Loci On Chromosomes 3 And 10 Genome-Wide Association Study Of Osteochondrosis In The Tarsocrural Joint Of Dutch Warmblood Horses Identifies Susceptibility Loci On Chromosomes 3 And 10: This study found putative associations between the occurrence of osteochondrosis in Dutch Warmblood...
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The Relationship Between Body Composition, Training And Race Performance In A Group Of Thoroughbred Flat Racehorses

The Relationship Between Body Composition, Training And Race Performance In A Group Of Thoroughbred Flat Racehorses The Relationship Between Body Composition, Training And Race Performance In A Group Of Thoroughbred Flat Racehorses: Body composition is a non-invasive way of assessing an athlete’s potential for performance. This study identified a significant link between fat-free mass, an...
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Candidate Gene SNP Associations With Fat-Free Mass (FFM) Measurements In Horses-In-Training

Candidate Gene SNP Associations With Fat-Free Mass (FFM) Measurements In Horses-In-Training Candidate Gene SNP Associations With Fat-Free Mass (FFM) Measurements In Horses-In-Training: This study examined the effect of six candidate genes with functions in growth and metabolism on fat-free mass – an indicator of muscle mass – in Thoroughbred horses-in-training. The results indicated that there...
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Investigation Of MSTN Genotype Association With VO2peak In Untrained Yearlings

Investigation Of MSTN Genotype Association With VO2peak In Untrained Yearlings Investigation Of MSTN Genotype Association With VO2peak In Untrained Yearlings: This study investigated the association between myostatin variations and VO2peak in 41 untrained yearling Thoroughbreds. No association between myostatin genotype and untrained peak oxygen consumption was observed in untrained Thoroughbreds, but further research is needed...
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A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (BIEC2-808543) On ECA3 Is Associated With Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy Independent Of Height In Thoroughbred Horses

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (BIEC2-808543) On ECA3 Is Associated With Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy Independent Of Height In Thoroughbred Horses A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (BIEC2-808543) On ECA3 Is Associated With Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy Independent Of Height In Thoroughbred Horses: Previous studies have suggested that increased risk of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) is linked to a variant...
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Prehistoric Genomes Reveal The Genetic Foundation And Cost Of Horse Domestication

Prehistoric Genomes Reveal The Genetic Foundation And Cost Of Horse Domestication Prehistoric Genomes Reveal The Genetic Foundation And Cost Of Horse Domestication: The genetics underlying horse domestication are difficult to reconstruct, given the near extinction of wild horses. Two ancient horse genomes, both predating the earliest archeologically evidence of domestication, were sequenced and compared with...
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