The leaders of the international Horse Genome Sequencing Project announced Wednesday that the first draft of the horse genome sequence has been completed and is now freely available for use by biomedical and veterinary researchers around the globe.
The first horse genome map will provide scientists with a new set of tools for investigating equine disease, said the scientists at the Broad Institute, a part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
Ernie Bailey, PhD, geneticist and professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center said, "It's just basically been a collection of 30,763,255 random DNA sequences in a database." He added, "They determined the relationships among the sequences and ordered them along the 32 pairs of horse chromosomes."
The completed gene map is currently available for researchers through the Broad Institute's Web site, and will be placed on online browsers for easier access within the next couple of weeks.
One of the Lead Authors of the Study, Clare Wade, said that the horse genome could not only help in studying equine health but also in researching diseases and genetic differences in human beings. He added that horses can suffer from many of the same illnesses as humans, including West Nile virus, arthritis and allergies, and that is why the research have focused on horses.