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The Equinome Elite Performance Test can identify individuals with the greatest genetic potential for racecourse success.
It is well established that sprint and longer distance exercise have different metabolic and physiological requirements. For instance, each type of exercise differs in the requirement for oxygen-dependent respiration and metabolism. Also, research published by Equinome scientists has shown that the genetic requirements for short-duration,high-intensity exercise are substantially different than moderate-intensity, longer-duration exercise. Therefore, different sets of genes will contribute to elite performance in C:C, C:T and T:T horses.
Genetic association tests were performed for 54,000 DNA variants distributed across the genome in 368 horses with disparate racecourse performance (i.e. elite [Group or Listed race winner] performance vs poor [non-winner and RPR < 80] performance). Multiple genomic regions were associated with performance ability, indicating that many genes contribute to racecourse performance. Importantly, different genomic regions were highlighted in the different groups of horses when defined by the Equinome Speed Gene Test as C:C, C:T and T:T. This demonstrates that different sets of genes contribute to elite racing performance in the different race distance types.
An additional set of 300 DNA variants were chosen for focused genetic association tests. The choice of DNA variants was informed by the function of the genes where they are located and the biological relevance to exercise physiology. The test was developed by evaluating the occurrence of these DNA variants in 1,051 horses that had been trained for Flat racing in Ireland, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and USA.All horses were greater than three years old. The test sample included 211 Group and Listed race winners (i.e. this represents an approximately 10 × over-representation of elite performers in the population; the sample size was required to increase the statistical power).
Using state-of-the-art genomics technologies we have developed large panels of DNA variants that can now be used to distinguish between elite performers and poor performers within each distance category, which is first determined for a particular horse using the Equinome Speed Gene Test. There are three discrete test panels for C:C, C:T and T:T horses.
Approximately 80 genetic variants are tested for each panel. Each favourable DNA variant contributes to elite racing performance in an additive fashion. Each variant is assigned a weighting based on its contribution to racing ability. A genetic score for elite performance is then calculated from the combination of genetic variants at all genes tested in the panel. The combination of advantageous DNA variants determines whether a horse is genetically Class I, Class II, Class III or Class IV.
C:C test panel includes genes with functions associated with:
gluconeogenesis, central nervous system development, insulin regulation, lactate metabolism, vascularisation
C:T test panel includes genes with functions associated with:
muscle contraction, oxidative phosphorylation, heart function, growth promotion
T:T test panel includes genes with functions associated with:
oxygen sensing, central nervous system development, mitochondrial respiration, glucose utilisation, testosterone conversion, heart physiology and health
Distribution of racing performance within each genetic Class in a sample of 1,051 Flat racing Thoroughbreds (20% were elite race winners)
© EQUINOME 2012