Three interesting papers have come across my desk that I thought were worth commenting on:
The first is a genome wide study on height and other conformation characteristics in Franches-Montagnes horses. They used around 40,000 SNPs to do their analysis which is a lot less than what we used to do ours (~65,000) but the method is the same (comparing two groups and looking at where a signal is found). Interestingly they found two QTL's that explained ~18.2% of the heritable variation of height in horses. We don't think that this has a lot of application for Thoroughbreds (height doesn't relate a lot to performance) but they did find that the QTL region on ECA 3 associated with height at withers was also significantly associated with conformation of legs, ventral border of mandible, correctness of gaits, and expression of the head.
There was another paper, this one on Equine Sarcoids, that looked at the genetic basis for this semi-malignant skin tumor. A team of researchers conducting a whole-genome scan successfully located chromosomal regions associated with ES, bringing us one step closer to understanding the causes of this disease.
With racing administrators in California looking at extending the withholding period for Clenbuterol, an interesting paper was released on clenbuterol (the FDA approved one, not the derivative out of New Mexico that is causing all the problems) showing no effect on skeletal and cardiac muscle.