Speed Gene Helps Horse Breeders Hedge Bets

Blood test shows proclivity for maximum speed or stamina
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2010 7:06 AM CST
In this photo released by Benoit Photo, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, with jockey Joe Talamo aboard, works out at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Tuesday morning, Oct. 6, 2009.    (AP Photo/Benoit, HO)
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(Newser) – Sounds like a breeder's dream: Researchers in Dublin say they've identified a speed gene, with variations that predict whether a racehorse is better suited for short-distance sprints or longer tests of stamina. Comparing the genetic codes of 179 winners with their track records, they identified three variants of the myostatin gene, which regulates muscle mass, associated with maximum performance in short, middle, and long distance racing. A commercial blood test, at $1,400 a pop, will be available for breeders by the end of the month, Bloomberg reports.

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