Study: Cardiac Recovery Time Identified as Heritable Trait

Selective breeding could lead to horses more tailored for endurance and improve welfare and performance, scientists say.
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We already know that cardiac recovery time in endurance horses is related to their ability to perform well in races. But what we didn’t know—until now—is that recovery time is a heritable trait.

French researchers have determined that we could breed selectively for recovery time in endurance horses, as this trait gets passed on through genes.

“Cardiac recovery time in endurance racing appears to be strongly influenced by genetics, so a selection based on cardiac recovery time could be a supplemental physiological characteristic to take into consideration to improve the breeding selection of endurance horses,” said Eric Barrey, PhD, of AgroParisTech, the University of Paris-Saclay, and the French National Agricultural Research Institute.

However, for such a breeding opportunity to realistic, race organizers should record horses’ cardiac recovery time during events to obtain official data, he added

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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