A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in thoroughbred horses.

Article English OPEN
Emmeline W Hill ; Jingjing Gu ; Suzanne S Eivers ; Rita G Fonseca ; Beatrice A McGivney ; Preethi Govindarajan ; Nick Orr ; Lisa M Katz ; David E MacHugh
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 5, issue 1 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008645, pmc: PMC2808334
  • Subject: Genetics and Genomics/Animal Genetics | Q | R | Research Article | Genetics and Genomics/Genomics | Science | Medicine | Genetics and Genomics/Population Genetics

Variants of the MSTN gene encoding myostatin are associated with muscle hypertrophy phenotypes in a range of mammalian species, most notably cattle, dogs, mice, and humans. Using a sample of registered Thoroughbred horses (n = 148), we have identified a novel MSTN sequence polymorphism that is strongly associated (g.66493737C>T, P = 4.85x10(-8)) with best race distance among elite racehorses (n = 79). This observation was independently validated (P = 1.91x10(-6)) in a resampled group of Thoroughbreds (n = 62) and in a cohort of Thoroughbreds (n = 37, P = 0.0047) produced by the same trainer. We observed that C/C horses are suited to fast, short-distance races; C/T horses compete favorably in middle-distance races; and T/T horses have greater stamina. Evaluation of retrospective racecourse performance (n = 142) and stallion progeny performance predict that C/C and C/T horses are more likely to be successful two-year-old racehorses than T/T animals. Here we describe for the first time the identification of a gene variant in Thoroughbred racehorses that is predictive of genetic potential for an athletic phenotype.
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