Approximately 120 scientists gathered for the 2012 Horse Genome Workshop, which took place at the XX Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, Jan. 14-15.

During the workshop, geneticists predicted that our understanding of the equine genome will grow as gene sequencing technology continues to improve. Samantha Brooks, PhD, of Cornell University chaired the horse-relate portion of the event.

The program covered diverse equine-genetics’ topics, including:

  • Alterations in genome structure that cause disorders of sexual development in horses;
  • DNA alterations that change regulation of gene expression of horses;
  • The genetics involved in cribbing;
  • Investigation of genetic influences on recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, or heaves) in European Warmblood horses;
  • Discovery and description of genes expressed in 43 different equine tissues and their use to improve our understanding of the genes expressed in horses; and
  • Comparisons of genomes both within and between different breeds of horses.

Ernie Bailey, PhD, professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center and coordinator for the USDA Horse Genome collaboration attended the workshop. The audience found a presentation by invited speaker Ludovic Orlando, PhD, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, particularly interesting, Bailey said.

"Orlando reported that a novel technique referred to as NEXTGEN sequencing was us