North Swedish Draught horse WGS pool

SNIC 2017/7-429


SNAC Small

Principal Investigator:

Gabriella Lindgren


Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

10609: Genetics (medical to be 30107 and agricultural to be 40402)




Horses show a considerable variation in the pattern of locomotion making this species attractive for gene mapping of locomotion. Previously, we made a major discovery that a single base change in the DMRT3 gene alters the pattern of locomotion in horses. The mutation is required to perform alternative gaits (other gaits than walk, trot and canter/gallop) in horses and occurs at a high frequency in gaited horses and horses used for harness racing. These results demonstrate how the study of unique phenotypes in domestic animals can lead to fundamental insights, including neurobiology. This identification of a link between DMRT3 and locomotion pattern in the horse has revealed a new molecule and a new target for the study of locomotion pattern and its defects in mammals, including human and animal disorders with locomotion disturbances. Our present results suggest that modifying genes for locomotion patterns exist in the horse genome. This gives us the opportunity to identify additional regulators of the central circuitry of spinal interneurons and motor neuron that coordinate the movement of the four limbs. The aim of this project is therefore to search the entire horse genome for these modifying genes using genome-wide association analysis and whole-genome re-sequencing in two different and carefully selected horse model systems. The results from this study may serve as a platform for future studies on the development of coordinated movements in vertebrates.