Meeting of the equine gene geniuses in Germany

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Scientists at the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer International Equine Genome Mapping Workshop.
Scientists at the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer International Equine Genome Mapping Workshop.

World leaders in equine genetics got together last week in Germany to present the latest research into horse genomics.

Seventy scientists from 17 countries attended the three-day Dorothy Russell Havemeyer International Equine Genome Mapping Workshop in Hanover. They covered a range of topics, from the identification of disease genes, reconstruction of the prehistoric genetics of the horse, genetic diversity in endangered breeds, understanding the biological basis for health and performance traits and the development of tests for application in the horse industries.

The horse genome sequence was completed in 2007, a result of the communal efforts of the researchers who first met in 1995 with the goal of the sequencing project to improve the health and welfare of the horse. Those overarching goals of the community remain and this rapidly developing field will continue to provide knowledge and tools to enable informed breeding and management for the improved welfare of the horse.

Dr Emmeline Hill
Dr Emmeline Hill

Last week’s meeting was an opportunity to present, comment and critique research papers, share ideas and foster new collaborations. The papers presented at the meeting demonstrated the rapid advances in this area as researchers continue to collaborate with owners, industry and clinicians to understand the genetic makeup of the horse.

Those present at the workshop included Equinome’s co-founder Dr Emmeline Hill, who presented the science behind the development of Equinome’s Elite Performance Test. “It was a great opportunity to open comment and discussion from the global equine genomics community on the research behind our test – this is one of the foundations of science,” Hill said.

“The papers presented at the meeting demonstrated the rapid advances in equine genomics and there are so many exciting applications to look forward to.”

The group of researchers were also treated to a stallion parade at the National Stud Celle during the workshop.

The 12th Dorothy Russell Havemeyer International Equine Genome Mapping Workshop will take place in 2017.

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