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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

A genome-wide association study for harness racing success in the Norwegian-Swedish coldblooded trotter reveals genes for learning and energy metabolism

Velie, Brandon D.; Fegraeus, Kim Jaderkvist; Sole, Marina; Rosengren, Maria K.; Roed, Knut H.; Ihler, Carl-Fredrik; Strand, Eric; Lindgren, Gabriella

Abstract

Background: Although harness racing is of high economic importance to the global equine industry, significant genomic resources have yet to be applied to mapping harness racing success. To identify genomic regions associated with harness racing success, the current study performs genome-wide association analyses with three racing performance traits in the Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter using the 670 K Axiom Equine Genotyping Array.Results: Following quality control, 613 horses and 359,635 SNPs were retained for further analysis. After strict Bonferroni correction, nine genome-wide significant SNPs were identified for career earnings. No genome-wide significant SNPs were identified for number of gallops or best km time. However, four suggestive genome-wide significant SNPs were identified for number of gallops, while 19 were identified for best km time. Multiple genes related to intelligence, energy metabolism, and immune function were identified as potential candidate genes for harness racing success.Conclusions: Apart from the physiological requirements needed for a harness racing horse to be successful, the results of the current study also advocate learning ability and memory as important elements for harness racing success. Further exploration into the mental capacity required for a horse to achieve racing success is likely warranted.

Keywords

Genetic; Horse; Performance; Racehorse

Published in

BMC Genetics
2018, Volume: 19, article number: 80
Publisher: BMC