The Thoroughbred is a relatively genetically diverse breed of horse. This is evidenced by the variety of physiques, conformation and performances in the population. The effectiveness of our DNA and performance data assessments are dependent on this observation.
Because of this abundance of diversity, it is unlikely that any major performance characteristic, including speed/stamina balance, is controlled by a single gene. Individual genes may correlate with a particular trait but they are generally part of a ‘mixture’ where strong correlations are also found with many other genes.
Certainly, finding or breeding the desired speed/stamina attributes of a horse is a key to success. That is why our approach to genetic testing and data provision is based on the fact that stamina/speed components of performance are multi-factorial and cannot be described by single gene assessments.
Our own DNA analyses of stamina and speed are based on multiple gene marker approaches incorporating the results of our scientific research. These assessments examine mitochondrial genes and broader chromosomal assessments. (Link to our paper on energy genes and performance.....) Importantly, using other DNA analyses, we also pay particular attention to ensuring that detrimental inbreeding is not adversely increased via selection for specific genes or combinations.
The chances of breeding a successful racehorse are clearly influenced by probability-dependent genetic occurrences. Our aim is to manipulate and identify genetic probabilities in a more structured manner. We seek to help our breeding and racing clients produce or select ‘complete equine packages’ that have been assembled with coordinated genetic components to do a specific racing job and are likely to be genetically adapted to higher levels of success in a particular speed or stamina niche.
In our 10-year experience, clients require detailed, individual reporting on the genetic performance status for their horses. Using the information derived from our suite of DNA-based assessments and our practical horse and racing knowledge, we also closely liaise and advise our clients on how to achieve the best possible outcomes for their breeding and racing animals.
A number of useful and relevant articles and publications in our NEWS section help to describe our philosophy in relation to the subject of Racehorse Genetics:
Australian Breeding & Racing Magazine, March 2010, Playing God (Link to article on Thoroughbred genetic testing.....)
Thoroughbred Times, August, 2006, Scientist links mtDNA, racing ability (Ink) (Link to article on mitochondrial genes and Thoroughbred performance.....)
Pacemaker, June, 2006, The foundations of stamina (Link to report on stamina and speed gene.....)
Mitochondrion, April, 2006, Mitochondrial DNA: An important female contribution to thoroughbred racehorse performance (Link to paper on genes and Thoroughbred performance.....)
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