Worth a bet

Genetic basis of speed in racehorses

source: Anthony King
New Scientist vol 210 no 2818, June 25 2011 starts p40, 2 pages long

Horse genetic studies are making new progress, though thoroughbreds have long been selected for strength and speed. Hill's test examines the myostatin gene, that curtails muscle development. Mutations preventing the gene functioning can lead to muscly animals. Emmeline Hill's team at Dublin's University College found two basis in myostatin genes, thymin (T) and cytostine (C), giving three possible combinations, T/T, C/T, and C/C, from their two copies of the gene. T/T horses tend to perfom better in long races, and C/C horses are better sprinters. Training and management are also important, but new research is likely to help breeders produce successful horses.