What if learning your horse’s ancestry was as easy as pulling some hair and waiting a couple of weeks? Many places offer genetic testing for several creatures including humans, to establish ancestry and in animals, what breeds they are made up of. What if equine gaitedness was also so easy? Learning if your non-gaited horse could possibly produce a gaited baby may open up completely new doors to the equine breeding industry. Before we start suggesting Miniature horses should be bred to rack, let’s take a look at the science, and the man, behind this interesting discovery.
Dr. Gus Cothran, P.h.D (Genetics), a professor with the Animal Genetics Lab at the Texas A&M University, along with other researchers, discovered that the ability to gait (that is, to move in a way additional to the standard walk, trot, canter, and gallop) is linked with a genetic mutation. According to TAMU Times the gene known as DMRT3 is linked with motion and limb movement. TAMU Times reports that “in almost every case of gaited horses [whose DNA had been sequenced], there was mutation in the DMRT3 that caused a premature “stop codon” which causes the protein product of the gene to be terminated before the whole protein is completed. This alters the function of the protein which leads to the differences associated with the gait.”  The research team also examined mice, and discovered similarities in their natural movement abilities in relation to gaitedness.
So what does this mean? [click here to read more]