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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Frequencies of polymorphisms in myostatin vary in Icelandic horses according to the use of the horses

Velie, Brandon; Jäderkvist, Kim; Imsland, Freyja; Viluma, Agnese; Andersson, Lisa; Mikko, Sofia; Eriksson, Susanne; Lindgren, Gabriella

Abstract

The recent association of the myostatin gene (MSTN) with best race distance has provided valuable insight into the influence of MSTN on racing performance. However, the importance of MSTN in horses is unlikely to be limited to racing performance. First described in mice, the effects of mutations in MSTN have long been associated with heavily muscled cattle. In cattle, some of the morphological variability between breeds can be attributed to MSTN and its effects on muscle fiber development. As such, it is highly probable that MSTN polymorphisms influence not only racing performance, but also the general use of a horse or breed. This variability would likely be reflected in the genotype frequencies of horses used for specific purposes, as certain genotypes would undoubtedly yield more desirable phenotypes. The aim of this study was to explore this idea by estimating the genotype frequencies of three SNPs in MSTN in the Icelandic horse breed, a breed traditionally used for both meat production and riding.

Published in

Animal Genetics
2015, Volume: 46, number: 4, pages: 467-468