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Research finds chromosome candidates for osteochondrosis in horses

A genetic research team has found a link between two chromosomes and osteochondrosis in standardbred trotter horses.

University of Minnesota researchers Jessica Petersen, Aaron Rendahl, James Mickelson, and Molly McCue and Rutgers University’s Sarah Ralston authored “Genome-Wide Association Analyses For Susceptibility To Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) in Standardbred Trotters”, which was presented in poster format at the International Conference on the Status of Plant and Animal Genome Research in San Diego January 9-13.

“We found two chromosomes that look like there might be something there,” Petersen said.

The research utilized 57 standardbred horses consisting of 32 yearlings with OCD tarsal lesions and a control group of 25 yearlings with no tarsal lesions. “They’re very inbred, so it’s to our advantage,” Petersen said.

The findings indicated differences in chromosomes 6 and 14 for horses with osteochondrosis. “It appears to be heritable,” Petersen said.

Chromosome 14 is associated with cartilage development. “Maybe there is something real there,” Petersen said.

The function of chromosome 6 is currently unknown.

Follow-up research will sequence those two chromosomes. “If we do find mutations in either of these chromosome sequences, we’ll find more horses and try to confirm them,” Petersen said.

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