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Scientists Open Equine 'Black Box'

Wednesday, 26th July 2006

Scientists "have come a step closer to opening the Black Box of equine genetics with the announcement that the National Human Genome Research Institute has added the horse to its list of genome sequencing targets," reported racingpost.co.uk. The project "is expected to provide powerful new tools in understanding horse health problems, as well as performance-related traits in thoroughbred racehorses". Professor Ernie Bailey at the University Of Kentucky declared the work would be revolutionary: "While the main scientific objective of NHGRI is enabling a direct comparison of the horse & human genomes, this information will simultaneously revolutionise horse research. Knowing the full DNA sequence is a fundamental step necessary to open the Black Box of equine genetics & will provide horse enthusiasts, horse professionals, equine veterinarians & scientists access to critical new information & genetic tools." Among the areas scientists "expect to tease open with the new tools are whether there are genetic determinants for various equine illnesses, the functional role that contributing genes play in disease & the identification of genes that regulate desirable traits".

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