New test for dwarfism available

A new test makes it possible to identify carriers of a mutated gene that causes some forms of dwarfism in horses.

A new genetic test for a form of dwarfism in Miniature Horses is now available from the University of Kentucky’s Animal Genetic Testing and Research Laboratory.

The test identifies carriers of four mutations in the aggrecan gene, which controls proteins critical to the development of cartilage structures. The mutations may result in a range of physical issues, including respiratory problems, oral malformations and abnormal bone growth. 

Researchers say carriers of the mutated gene may not exhibit any outwards signs, but when two carriers are mated, the result can be a foal affected with any combination of the genes, some of which are lethal.

The new test does not identify all forms of dwarfism in Miniature Horses or forms found in other breeds. For more information about the test, visit the laboratory’s website or call 859-218-1193.

This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #442. 

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