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Horse genome assembled

Conville Barn, Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, at Cornell University, with a small herd of horses that have been selected and bred for more than 25 years to study the mechanisms that prevent maternal immunological recognition and destruction of the developing fetus during mammalian pregnancy. The research, conducted by Cornell professor Doug Antczak, V.M.D, Ph.D., and funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has implications in reproduction, clinical organ transplantation and immune regulation.

In addition to sequencing the horse genome, researchers produced a map of horse genetic variation using DNA samples from a variety of modern and ancestral breeds, including the Akel Teke, Andalusian, Arabian, Icelandic, Quarter, Standardbred and Thoroughbred. This map, comprised of 1 million signposts of variation called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, will provide scientists with a genome-wide view of genetic variability in horses and help them identify the genetic contributions to physical and behavioral differences, as well as to disease susceptibility. There are more than 80 known genetic conditions in horses that are genetically similar to disorders seen in humans, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The SNPs are available at the Broad Institute web site (www.broad.mit.edu/mammals/horse/snp) and will be available shortly from NCBI's Single Nucleotide Polymorphism database, dbSNP (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/SNP).

The initial sequencing assembly is based on 6.8-fold coverage of the horse genome, which means, on average, each base pair has been sequenced almost seven times over. Researchers can access the horse genome sequence data through the following public databases: GenBank (www.ncbi.nih.g
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Source:NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute


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