Friday, November 16, 2018

How the 'speed gene' works in thoroughbred racehorses

What makes a racehorse fast? Its genetic makeup or the training? Although training and eating right can surly help a horse become stronger and faster, a version of the myostatin gene plays a huge role in race distance aptitude in racehorses. The myostatin gene is a pronounced inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth. This was discovered by Professor Emmeline Hill. This discovery got this gene the name 'speed gene'. When first discovered there were patterns that showed for sprinters, middle-distance performers and long- distance. 'CC' copies usually develop into sprinters, 'CT' tend to develop into middle-distance. 'TT' developed into long- distance performers.

New research has found that a non-coding section of the 'speed gene' is exclusively responsible for the limiting of myostatin protein. Limiting this protein affects the skeletal muscle development and race distance aptitude. This research was done by Richard Porter, Mary Rooney, Vincent Kelly, and Emmeline Hill. Dr Porter states "As a result, this element is the key genetic factor in determining distance aptitude in thoroughbred horses. This knowledge is extremely valuable to thoroughbred breeders and trainers, in what is a multi-billion dollar industry."

I believe this is important information to know since thoroughbred horse racing is such a big and popular industry, and can help the race horse breeders to breed the strongest and fasted horses. This is also important because they will be able to know which horses are built for which race, because you would not want to out a sprinter in a long distance race.

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