Horse genome sequence draft is issued

February 7, 2007

The U.S.-led Horse Genome Sequencing Project has issued its first draft, making it available to biomedical and veterinary scientists around the world.

The $15 million effort to sequence the approximately 2.7 billion DNA base pairs in the horse genome is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute -- part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

A team led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted the sequencing with assistance from scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany, and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. The bacterial artificial chromosome end sequencing was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the State of Lower Saxony.

In addition to sequencing the horse genome, researchers produced a map of horse genetic variation using DNA samples from a variety of modern and ancestral horses, including the Akel Teke, Andalusian, Arabian, Icelandic, Quarter, Standardbred and Thoroughbred breeds.

Comparing the horse and human genomes will help medical researchers learn more about the human genome, as well as helping veterinary researchers better understand diseases that affect equines.

The horse genome sequence is available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Copyright 2007 by United Press International