The Brooks Equine Genetics Lab at the University of Florida has a new study that continues to research the genes, or combination of genes that might influence gait. Previous studies have focused on other breeds, this study focuses on Brazilian gaited breeds, with the main focus on the Mangalarga Marchador.
Here is some background from their website:
Have you ever asked yourself why do some horses gait? Horses are, indeed, the only known species of mammals that has such a wide variation in locomotion patterns. The gait is influenced by several factors: conformation and neurobiology, and to some extent environmental factors - such as human intervention in the form of shoeing and training. Each of the physiological aspects is influenced by other numerous components. The conformation by the bone length and thickness, muscle fiber type and joint angles. Types of nerves, presence and amount of calcium and potassium transmitters and synapse receivers control the neurobiology.
Several genes affect each of these components is therefore unlikely that a single gene is responsible for gaiting, but a combination of specific genes and their alleles. And in order to discover which genes are responsible for gait in horses, we need gaited horses! The goal of this study is to identify which genes predispose horses to gait, when compared to trotting or pacing horses. Our focus is mainly on the Mangalarga Marchador, but any Brazilian gaited breed is welcome. And we need hundreds and hundreds of horses; the more horses that participate, the more successful our study will be.
You can help by submitting information and DNA from your Marchador!
For more information on the Brazilian Breeds gaited study, please follow this link to download the gait study forms needed to submit DNA on your Mangalarga Marchador!