A Horse Instruction Manual
The genome is the entire instruction manual for a horse’s body. As an instruction manual, the genome dictates traits that are desirable or even elite, like speed, endurance, jumping ability, or certain colors.
Instructions in the horse’s genome can make muscles larger, burn energy more efficiently, or determine the shape of bones that enhance beauty or determine gait. Errors in the genome can cause illnesses known as genetic diseases. The genomes of a stallion and mare combine to form the genome of a foal, mixing the instructions and traits of each parent in a complex way.
The letters that make up the genome are encoded in DNA, and the horse’s genome is huge – 2.7 billion letters. Those 2.7 billion letters encode 20,000 genes which dictate how a horse’s body behaves. By reading the horse’s genome, we can understand how DNA sequences relate to traits. However, until recently, there was no technology available to read 2.7 billion letters of DNA quickly and cost effectively.
Interpreting the manual
But the letters of DNA are like a code that we have not fully deciphered – yet. By collecting detailed data on a horse’s traits and correlating that to its whole genome, we are making new discoveries on how the genome influences traits such as behavior, health, disease, performance, and much more. And that’s what you get with the VGnome: the most thorough interpretation of whole horse genome sequencing available. With just one test, we can bring invaluable knowledge to horse owners, breeders, trainers, and enthusiasts, now and in the future.