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Rheinbach, Germany

Gurney S.M.R.,Institute of Forensic Genetics | Gurney S.M.R.,University of Cambridge | Schneider S.,University of Cambridge | Pflugradt R.,Certagen GmbH | And 8 more authors.
International Journal of Legal Medicine

Horse mtDNA profiling can be useful in forensic work investigating degraded samples, hair shafts or highly dilute samples. Degraded DNA often does not allow sequencing of fragments longer than 200 nucleotides. In this study we therefore search for the most discriminatory sections within the hypervariable horse mtDNA control region. Among a random sample of 39 horses, 32 different sequences were identified in a stretch of 921 nucleotides. The sequences were assigned to the published mtDNA types A-G, and to a newly labeled minor type H. The random match probability within the analysed samples is 3.61%, and the average pairwise sequence difference is 15 nucleotides. In a "sliding window" analysis of 200-nucleotide sections of the mtDNA control region, we find that the known repetitive central motif divides the mtDNA control region into a highly diverse segment and a markedly less discriminatory segment. © Springer-Verlag 2010. Source

Hauswirth R.,University of Bern | Jude R.,Certagen GmbH | Haase B.,University of Bern | Haase B.,University of Sydney | And 7 more authors.
Animal Genetics

Variants in the EDNRB, KIT, MITF, PAX3 and TRPM1 genes are known to cause white spotting phenotypes in horses, which can range from the common white markings up to completely white horses. In this study, we investigated these candidate genes in 169 horses with white spotting phenotypes not explained by the previously described variants. We identified a novel missense variant, PAX3:p.Pro32Arg, in Appaloosa horses with a splashed white phenotype in addition to their leopard complex spotting patterns. We also found three novel variants in the KIT gene. The splice site variant c.1346+1G>A occurred in a Swiss Warmblood horse with a pronounced depigmentation phenotype. The missense variant p.Tyr441Cys was present in several part-bred Arabians with sabino-like depigmentation phenotypes. Finally, we provide evidence suggesting that the common and widely distributed KIT:p.Arg682His variant has a very subtle white-increasing effect, which is much less pronounced than the effect of the other described KIT variants. We termed the new KIT variants W18-W20 to provide a simple and unambiguous nomenclature for future genetic testing applications. © 2013 The Authors, Animal Genetics © 2013 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics. Source

Hauswirth R.,University of Bern | Haase B.,University of Sydney | Blatter M.,Swiss National Stud | Brooks S.A.,Cornell University | And 16 more authors.
PLoS Genetics

During fetal development neural-crest-derived melanoblasts migrate across the entire body surface and differentiate into melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells. Alterations in this precisely regulated process can lead to white spotting patterns. White spotting patterns in horses are a complex trait with a large phenotypic variance ranging from minimal white markings up to completely white horses. The "splashed white" pattern is primarily characterized by an extremely large blaze, often accompanied by extended white markings at the distal limbs and blue eyes. Some, but not all, splashed white horses are deaf. We analyzed a Quarter Horse family segregating for the splashed white coat color. Genome-wide linkage analysis in 31 horses gave a positive LOD score of 1.6 in a region on chromosome 6 containing the PAX3 gene. However, the linkage data were not in agreement with a monogenic inheritance of a single fully penetrant mutation. We sequenced the PAX3 gene and identified a missense mutation in some, but not all, splashed white Quarter Horses. Genome-wide association analysis indicated a potential second signal near MITF. We therefore sequenced the MITF gene and found a 10 bp insertion in the melanocyte-specific promoter. The MITF promoter variant was present in some splashed white Quarter Horses from the studied family, but also in splashed white horses from other horse breeds. Finally, we identified two additional non-synonymous mutations in the MITF gene in unrelated horses with white spotting phenotypes. Thus, several independent mutations in MITF and PAX3 together with known variants in the EDNRB and KIT genes explain a large proportion of horses with the more extreme white spotting phenotypes. © 2012 Hauswirth et al. Source

Aurich C.,University of Vienna | Weber J.,Certagen GmbH | Nagel C.,Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Sciences | Merkl M.,University of Vienna | And 6 more authors.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development

Early pregnancy loss is a major reason for low reproductive efficiency in the horse. In humans and mice, low numbers of regulatory T cells (Treg cells) are linked to miscarriage. The percentage of Treg cells in oestrous mares at the start of the breeding season was evaluated in relation to the outcome of subsequent pregnancy. For identification and quantification of Treg cells, a highly sensitive and specific qPCR assay targeting the Treg-specific demethylated region in the equine forkhead box transcription factor (FOXP3) gene was established. In a total of 108 mares, pregnancy was followed until detection of early pregnancy loss (n≤17), abortion without identification of an infectious or apparent cause (n≤9) or birth of a viable foal (n≤82). Measured Treg-cell levels did not significantly differ between mares that conceived (82%; 1.50±0.04%) or did not get pregnant (18%; 1.45±0.10%). The Treg-cell percentage at oestrus before breeding was significantly different (P<0.05) between mares that either underwent early pregnancy loss up to Day 40 of pregnancy (1.29±0.07%) and mares that aborted (1.61±0.15%) or gave birth to a live foal (1.52±0.05%). These results suggest that low levels of Treg cells in mares can contribute to pregnancy loss up to Day 40 after ovulation. Journal compilation © CSIRO 2014. Source

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