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Technology & Methodology

A Clear Advantage: Introducing our cutting-edge Whole Genome Sequencing service!

 

As a devoted horse owner, you strive to provide the best care for your equine companion. Now, imagine having the power to delve deep into your horse's unique genetic code to understand its health, potential, and heritage like never before.

Present market-dominating methods of horse DNA analysis you may be aware of study specific informative markers one by one. This typically requires a three-step procedure:

  • Sampling, e.g. blood or hair collection to isolate DNA

  • Wet-lab processing of the sample having in mind what marker is in question

  • Data analysis and reporting

 

But what if you start thinking of another DNA marker? Your horse may and its sample will for sure undergo another round of it (sampling and/or analysis), with a new marker under focus. Of course, you can combine analysis of several markers at a time but always you need to specify them first and always there will be questions like: What another test should I consider? Why have I not included this marker too?

Therefore, as you can see yourself, although these traditional and widely used approaches offer valuable insights into specific traits, they suffer from obvious drawbacks, the inability to provide a full picture being the most important one.

This is not the case of Whole Genome Sequencing services! Our technological advantages are, namely:

  • We cover the broad picture encoded in the entirety of your horse's genome and capture the full spectrum of genetic information. In fact, the broadest you can think of. With Whole Genome Sequencing, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your horse's genetic makeup.

  • Whole Genome Sequencing is assumption-free. Every specific genetic marker you have ever thought or heard of will be covered and you do not need to tell us upfront what you are looking for in your horse’s DNA. In fact, even markers you or scientists are not aware of yet will be covered too! It is like having the entire storybook, and not just a few words or chapters at best when using traditional methods!

  • We require a single sampling of your horse only. Once you send us your horse’s sample and we isolate the DNA, we will sequence it and the data can be stored forever. If you later decide for another look into your horse genomic makeup or if there are new traits discovered or associations found by scientists in the future, there is no need of additional sampling. The book of your horse’s DNA will be available at hand.

  • The more horse genomes are sequenced, the more data is available to compare them to each other. By analyzing tens or hundreds of genomes, people will be able to uncover previously unknown genetic predispositions for specific diseases or key performance characteristics of sport horses. If you have the whole genome of your horse analyzed, we can draw conclusions that are basically related to the individual in question. But if you have the genomes of your entire stable analyzed, we can start comparing them to each other, getting a new and higher level of information. We can create a large catalogue of known and new traits to help the community understand the horse DNA landscape. And you can be a part of it!

 

 

For the Curious Minds: How Whole Genome Sequencing Works?

 

The horse's DNA or genome is made up of 2.7 billion bases, simplified to the letters A, G, C, T. The combination of these four letters in the DNA strand encodes approximately 20,000 genes that are responsible for the appearance, characteristics and health of the individual.

 

Until recently, however, no technology was available to read the 2.7 billion letters of DNA quickly and cost-effectively. But the latest sequencing technologies now allow us to do just that. 

 

The very first step, after isolating your horse's DNA, is to break that DNA into small fragments and create what is called a sequencing library. We then read the fragments in this library one by one using a device called a sequencer to identify the order of the bases (A, T, C, G) in the fragment. In a third step, we assemble these short fragments using computer programs to get a complete picture of the genome of the test horse. Finally, we compare the information obtained with a reference genome and, on the basis of this comparison, we can then diagnose genetic diseases, predisposition to diseases or identify genetic variants associated with certain traits.
 

Thinking of Whole Genome Sequencing, think of assembling a puzzle. The result is a comprehensive genetic map that reveals the secrets hidden within. It is not just science; it is a journey of discovery for every horse enthusiast.

Embark on a genetic journey with us, and empower yourself as a horse owner. Our Whole Genome Sequencing service is not just about data – it is about forming a stronger bond with your horse, understanding its uniqueness, and making informed decisions for its health and future.

FAQ

Why do I have to take blood instead of just the roots of the mane?

DNA isolated from blood is of higher quality and, therefore, more suitable for whole-genome sequencing. If we were to use horsehair, the isolated DNA would also include the DNA of bacteria, fungi, grass, and other unwanted impurities found on the horse's skin. Blood is clearly better for achieving a better result.

If a horse is a carrier of a disease, must it be excluded from breeding?

Not necessarily. If the horse is only a carrier of the recessive trait for the disease (heterozygote), it does not need to be removed from breeding. On the contrary, as part of diversifying the horse gene pool—where unwanted inbreeding already often occurs today—it is more than appropriate to keep high-quality individuals in breeding to ensure the breeding base is as broad as possible. If the horse can be considered a high-quality animal, it is only necessary to ensure, for example, through an analysis in our laboratory, that its breeding partner is not also a carrier of the given disease. In that case, there would be a 25% chance of producing a foal with the disease and a 50% chance of the foal being a carrier.

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