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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 traits, defined as the age at first work day, age at first race and age at best race. The ‘Speed Gene’ is widely recognised as having a significant genetic contribution to race distance in Thoroughbreds. Also the HTR7 gene, which is closely related to the HTR1A gene, previously implicated in tractability in young Thoroughbreds, was identified to have a significant genetic contribution to these traits, suggesting that behavioural as well as physical traits play a role in the early career development of young racehorses. The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and conducted at University College Dublin (UCD) in collaboration with Plusvital Ltd. UCD PhD candidate Gabriella Farries performed the research under the supervision of lead researcher Associate Professor Emmeline Hill.

Farries, G., McGettigan, P. A., Gough, K. F., McGivney, B. A., MacHugh, D. E., Katz, L. M. and Hill, E. W. (2017), Genetic contributions to precocity traits in racing Thoroughbreds. Anim Genet. doi:10.1111/age.12622

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