Genetic data could become more accessible to owners and researchers as scientists discover new techniques that offer more “value for money.” And this, one British research group says, could lead to a higher number of horses being genotyped and a better understanding of diseases and disease processes.

This added value is related to the genotyping “density”—essentially, how detailed the genotyping is. By using a combination of low- and high-density genotyping, research costs could be considerably reduced while still maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy, said Laura Corbin, PhD, and colleagues at the Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

“Recent developments in the field of genomics have enabled researchers to interrogate the genome of individual animals to a level of detail not previously possible,” said Corbin. “However, this ‘high-density genotyping’ can be costly, leaving researchers struggling to generate the large sample sizes needed for most studies.”

All horses in a particular breed are related to some degree—their genomes are made up of the same fragments but in different combinations, she said. As such, it might not be necessary to have the high levels of detail for each genotyping scan within that breed. In fact, researchers can choose to genotype only certain genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and then fill in the “missing” information based on existing equine genomes.

“This means that if you have a group of horses genotyped at high density, additional horses