Genetics of Swayback in Saddlebred Horses Examined

The gene responsible for causing the swaybacked appearance of many American Saddlebred horses might be playing an advanced game of “hide and go seek,” but genetic researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center are one step closer to uncovering this gene and, thus, helping breeders one day avoid perpetuating the trait. Swayback, also referred to as lordosis, lowback, or
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The gene responsible for causing the swaybacked appearance of many American Saddlebred horses might be playing an advanced game of "hide and go seek," but genetic researchers at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center are one step closer to uncovering this gene and, thus, helping breeders one day avoid perpetuating the trait.

Swayback, also referred to as lordosis, lowback, or softback, is the excessive curvature of the spine.

According to Gluck scientist Ernest Bailey, PhD, who studies immunogenetics and genomics and is a co-author on the study, a former doctoral student in his program laid the groundwork for the recent study in 2003 , demonstrating that swayback had a hereditary basis in Saddlebreds.

Researchers have shown that extreme lordosis is associated with pathology (physical damage to the spinal cord and associated tendons, ligaments, and other anatomic structures)

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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