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TwilightDoug Antczak and TwilightAbove, top: Twilight, a mare from Doug Antczak's herd selected as the genetic donor for the horse genome project.
Above: Doug Antczak with Twilight.

Horse Genome Project

Since 1995 the Antczak laboratory has been a major participant in the international collaboration of the Horse Genome Project. This consortium of over 20 laboratories from more than a dozen countries has collaborated to produce various genetic and physical maps of the horse genome, culminating in the whole genome sequence. This enormous research effort has been supported by many funding organizations, including the Havemeyer Foundation, the Zweig Fund, the Morris Animal Foundation, and the US National Institutes of Health.

Two Thoroughbred horses in the Baker Institute’s experimental herd were selected as DNA donors for the equine Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) library and the genome sequence.  The information from the genome sequence has been used to develop whole genome-scale Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) assays and other resources for investigations of gene function in the horse.  Using these resources, Dr. Antczak and Dr. Samantha Brooks, then of the Department of Animal Science at Cornell, identified the causative mutation of the lethal inherited disease of Arabian horses known as Lavender Foal Syndrome because of the distinctive coat color of affected animals. A molecular diagnostic test was developed that allows breeders to avoid stallion and mare mating pairs that could result in affected offspring. The Antczak lab is using resources of the Horse Genome Project in several current projects.

Relevant links:
Zweig News Capsule No. 43, June 2007 (issue devoted to Horse Genome Project under Dr. Antczak)
Zweig News Capsule No. 48, November 2009, "Sequenced Horse Genome Expands Understanding of Equine, Human Diseases"
National Institutes of Health news release on the horse genome project.
Ensembl, a European horse genome research database.
UCSC Horse Genome Browser Gateway