New genetic testing reveals a speed gene, and a PET scanner reduces fractures at Santa Anita
May 25, 2023
By SARA CAVANAGH
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.--The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association provided $300,000 to fund research to detect gene doping in race horses that has now been expanded to include new and exiting genetic testing.
Dr. Mary RobinshonThe funding, one of the highest of any state-bred association for research, was provided to maintain integrity in the sport, which was the number one issue for the PHBA membership.
Dr. Mary Robinson, Assistant Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, described this new research at the annual meeting of the PHBA at the Kennett Square Golf Club on May 24.
Earlier this year, the PHBA asked its members to allow blood to be withdrawn from their horses.
The PHBA hoped to get 500 blood samples, and, as of May 24, Dr.Robinson reported they have received 490 samples.
"We've been working with Dr. Emmaline Hill, an equine geneticist who runs a gamut of tests," said Dr. Robinson."This is new and exciting research that is taking off."
Dr Emmeline Hill is an Irish horse geneticist who is credited with discovering a gene for speed in horses.
"There's a speed gene that shows the possibility of a horse getting to the racetrack, that shows the optimal distance a horse should run and how long the horse may be able to compete," said Dr. Robinson.
This research is using the 490 samples from a bio blood bank, and new research is also looking to genes that might be involved in fractures.
Of course, none of this research does any good unless horses are fed and cared for properly from their birth and their trainers are careful to care for them properly.
Dr. Robinson said that they hoped that within a year they would have a blood lest that identified markers that could be used stall side, making it available for use at 2-year-old in training sales.
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