A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in thoroughbred horses.
Emmeline W Hill
Suzanne S Eivers
Rita G Fonseca
Beatrice A McGivney
Lisa M Katz
David E MacHugh
- Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
(issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
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.