THE link between the cause and effect of the so-called speed gene has been proved, according to research published by Professor Emmeline Hill in conjunction with scientists from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
It was Hill’s Equinome that added a new dimension to the assessment of the likely ability of a thoroughbred in 2010 courtesy of the breakthrough discovery of the speed gene, claiming a horse’s racing performance could be linked directly to its genetic makeup.
Now Hill, Plusvital’s chief science officer, has presented evidence of the effectiveness of the science, publishing in the journal PLOS ONE findings that show muscle growth in horses is controlled by the speed gene by its limiting of the production of the myostatin protein.
“This new research unambiguously demonstrates a direct link between cause and effect of the speed gene,” said Hill. “We are committed to adding to the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits that can be gained by the industry from genetic tests, which are being developed to maximize the opportunity for success for each horse.
Photo: Seabiscuit had gene variants that are often found in horses that are good distance runners. Interestingly, though, underlying this were variants in minor racing genes that are usually found in sprinting horses.