What is a gene?
A gene is the basic functional unit of heredity. Most genes act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of cells and control all of our bodily functions. Different genes have a different number of DNA letters that encode them (nucleotides), there is a total of 2.7 billion letters in the horse genome, all letters or nucleotides are read during our testing, therefore unlike anything available in the market, we will ensure all genes and their related functions are covered and available for reporting.
How do genes work?
A gene is a sequence of DNA letters that encodes an RNA and/or a protein. First, the DNA is copied into RNA, which has a slightly different chemical formula than DNA. The RNA can have a cellular function itself or is the intermediate template for a protein. Proteins are the basic molecules that make up cells, act as cell-to-cell signals, and direct many of the functions of a cell in our body. The transmission of genes to an organism’s offspring is the basis of the inheritance of traits.
What are mutations?
A mutation is a change in the DNA sequence. Genes can acquire mutations in their sequence, that change can then alter the instruction and lead to slightly different version of the protein. A change in the protein can alter its function which can change the cell function and then give the horse a new trait. These traits can be beneficial like color, speed, endurance or detrimental like diseases. Another name for a variation in DNA sequence is allele.
What are genetic diseases?
A genetic disorder is a disease that is caused by a change, or mutation, in a DNA sequence. Genetic disorders can be caused by a mutation in one gene (monogenic disorder), by mutations in multiple genes (multifactorial inheritance disorder), by a combination of gene mutations and environmental factors, or by damage to chromosomes (changes in the number or structure of entire chromosomes)
Are all mutations inherited?
Some diseases are caused by mutations that are inherited from the parents and are present at birth. Other diseases are caused by acquired mutations in a gene or group of genes that occur during a person’s life. Such mutations are not inherited from a parent, but rather occur either randomly or due to some environmental exposure.
What is genetic predisposition?
The increased likelihood of developing a particular disease due to the presence of one or more gene mutations. These changes in DNA increase the risk of the disease. Also called genetic susceptibility.
What is so special about Genetic testing?
DNA determines traits both desirable and diseases traits. By understanding the DNA sequence, we can predict traits and assign them a cause. Genetic testing is a method for reading the DNA sequence so you can begin the first step of knowing what the DNA sequence is. With genetic testing, we can determine the DNA sequence of a horse and begin to identify genetic diseases and physical performance traits. With this understanding, horse owners can apply lifestyle modifications and breeding and management decisions to maximize the performance of their horse and new foals.
What is WGS?
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is the reading of all of the DNA sequence of a horse, the entire horse genome. WGS is possible because of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology that very efficiently and cheaply reads the entire DNA sequence all at once. WGS is 10,000 times more data than other DNA tests, providing an uncompromised view of the Genome. WGS is the ultimate test available in the field of genetics and is ideal for discovery applications, such as identifying variants that cause various traits.
Why Should I Test My Horse?
Your horse may be affected by a disease or carry a genetic mutation without displaying any signs or symptoms but could pass that disease to its foal. These horses are carriers of a disease. If two carriers are crossed, then the foal could inherit two copies of a disease mutation and then get the disease. This kind of inheritance is known as recessive. On the other hand, dominant genetic disorders, require only one affected gene to cause an active disease.
Genetic testing can tell you if your horse carries two copies of a disease gene or carries one copy which can help determine if the horse will develop a disease. Also, genetic testing can determine other traits like color and performance. With this information, genetic testing can guide breeding choices to avoid disease or enhance performance. Additionally, genetic testing can increase the wellness of your horse by providing guidance on optimal feeding, training regiments ,and even predict lifetime earning potential of a horse.
Does it all depend on my horse’s genes?
No, environmental factors also play a role in your horse’s wellbeing. However, with the knowledge of the DNA sequence of your horse, you can guide many environmental features to maximize the health and well-being of your horse. For elite performance horses, using genetic information can provide an extra edge to maximize training and competitive performance. Ultimately, genetic information can improve the health and well-being of your horse and guide breeding and life-style choices for your horse.
How old does the horse need to be for DNA testing?
Genetic testing can be performed at any time and for any horse, from testing a fertilized embryo before implantation in the case of IVF, to testing during pregnancy, or any time after birth from childhood to adulthood.
What is needed for testing my horse?
At Victory Genomics, we make this an easy process for you. We accept both blood and hair samples.
Step 1, Download the sample collection and processing form. available at www.victorygenomics/download/collectioninstructions
Record your VG-ID on the enclosed form
Step 2, Collect your horse’s DNA
- DNA can be obtained from hair roots of the tail or mane. For younger foals with fine hair use tail hairs which have larger bulbs and more DNA. The mane may be used for adult horses. NOTE: the hair itself does not contain DNA. The cells at the hair root contain the DNA. DO NOT CUT HAIR. Instead, pull the hair roots out of the horse with a quick pull.
- Blood also has DNA. Blood spots can be placed on a special filter-card that allows blood to dry safely and is stable for years.
Step 3, send us the sample to our address. You can send your sample with regular mail (as simple as mailing a letter), no special paperwork or declarations are needed.
For any further questions, please contact our team who can assist you.
Is testing painful for the horse?
No, sample collection is easy and relatively painless.
Can I test my horse if I do not live in the US?
Yes, VG is a global company, receiving and processing samples from different horse owners throughout the world.
How do I provide a sample if I’m outside the United States?
Our representatives are happy to discuss and arrange sample processing and shipping from anywhere in the world. Please contact us for further information, our representative in your region will get in contact with you to assist you further.
How long does testing take?
Results typically take around 30-40 working days from the day the sample is received, depending on the test package ordered. Expedited testing packages are also available.
How do I obtain my results?
Once your results are reported, they will be sent to the provided e-mail(s) or can be accessible from our online portal. From the online portal, you can manage all your horse samples and obtain status updates for those samples in testing.
Does VG offer genetic counseling services?
Yes, at Victory Genomics, we offer 1 to 1 consulting with our genetic experts, and vets. Please contact us to schedule a consult with our team (additional fees apply).
Are Samples Stored after testing?
After DNA is extracted and used for testing; Victory Genomics will store the DNA for a duration of 3 months to ensure the testing is completed and there is no need for further testing. After the delivery of the report, DNA samples will be discarded. Because whole genome sequencing reads all the DNA, we can provide additional information about your horse by simply reviewing this sequence as add-on testing.
What payment forms are accepted and how do I pay for my test?
We accept all major credit cards, money orders and direct bank transfers. Please visit our website for further information www.victorygenomics.com/store
My horse is not registered yet, can I still send in a sample for testing?
Yes, testing can be performed at any time and may help in the registration process. Different associations have different registration requirements, please communicate with our team to help guide you through this process.
We are able to perform whatever testing is required by the association
Can you determine the breed of my horse?
Yes, we have breed attestation services.
Does this test tell me if a horse is more likely to be elite?
The ability to achieve elite performance is multifactorial and while genetic testing can give information about whether a horse will have elite traits when compared to other horses, environmental factors, training, and the presence of any diseases are all different variables that can affect the performance of a horse. However, with genetic testing, you can get critical information that can also guide training strategies and optimal race lengths that give your horse a competitive edge.
Will this make it harder for me to sell my horses?
On the contrary, having tested the genetics of your horse means your horse is verified and certified. Moreover, test results are completely confidential and will only be shared with contacts that you indicate.
How do I incorporate this into a training, feeding regimen?
Genetic information can provide important information on ideal training, feeding, and types of competitions for your specific horse. With this information in hand, you can exploit the genetics of your horse to give it an additional competitive edge. VG provides services to interpret genetic testing results so training and racing conditions can be optimized for your horse. If you have questions about these results, we are happy to discuss them with you (additional fees may apply).
What if my vet doesn’t know about VG?
VG is a global company with an array of clients ranging from leisure horse owners, to elite, competitive horse owners, to advanced veterinary hospitals and research centers. Our team includes world-renowned veterinary physicians and researchers. We would be happy to introduce VG to your trusted vet and work with her/him on test results and implications for your horse.
What tests will VG be adding to its panel of reports in the future? Will there be a price increase as tests are added?
We base all our testing on whole genome sequencing (VGnome). This means that we sequence the entire genome (1 test for life). However, sequencing is just reading the letters of the genome. We also need to interpret the letters in order to understand how they affect the horse. While it may be surprising, despite massive scientific efforts, we don’t know the function of many genes in our genome, and the horse is no exception. VG is therefore not just a testing company but also a discovery company. As we discover how different genes affect a horse and what they mean for a horse’s health and performance, we will add these genes to our interpretation/panels and current and previous clients can benefit from this information (additional fees may apply). Fortunately, VG has all the data in hand, the VGnome, and can provide this additional interpretation quickly.
How did you make the decision about which tests could be included? Are there genetic tests that you are not able to offer, and why?
Unlike human genetic testing, horse genetic testing is a relatively new science and we have much to learn. At Victory Genomics, we pride ourselves by having some of the world’s best experts horse genetic testing and disease discovery working for you. As we make discoveries, we can pass those discoveries to you. But there is no question that we will know more and offer more tests tomorrow than we can today. As our knowledgebase grows, we will can quickly provide that information to our clients for the benefit of their beloved horses.
How are the reports delivered?
Reports can be accessed from our online portal or via email. Our portal was built with security and privacy in mind, and we highly advise you to utilize it for submitted testing requests and receiving reports.
Why should I choose VG for genetic testing?
Unlike other testing companies, Victory Genomics applies the latest advances in human genomics knowledge to horses. Human genomics is far advanced compared to horse genomics; Victory genomics seeks to close that gap. Victory genomics has a world-renowned team of experts, that are advancing horse genomics at a brisk pace. Moreover, unlike all other testing providers where each disease or trait requires a different test, we perform only 1 test for the lifetime of your horse and extract information from that 1 test, the VGnome. Once you test your sample at VG you will NEVER EVER need to perform genetic testing again.
Are all the tests of the same quality?
Yes, we use whole genome sequencing as the backbone of our testing. Our testing is performed under the highest most stringent human grade quality standards.
Is VG a licensed lab for equine DNA testing?
There is no specific equine DNA testing accreditation; however, as we apply human grade testing to horses, all our services are following GDPR, ISO, CAP and CLIA requirements that were established as requirements for a medical diagnostic company for humans. This means that our policy is much stricter than any animal genetic testing company is required.. Furthermore, Victory genomics is currently under registration with the ISAG (The International Society and the International Foundation for Animal Genetics) and the AAVLD American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnostics.