Tricounty News

Webinar series will focus on equine genetics and management

ST. PAUL, Minn. (4/6/2009)--Think you know horses inside and out? The University of Minnesota is teaming up with Michigan State University's My Horse University to take horse owner knowledge to a new depth. Beginning in April, a new webinar series will be offered to bring horse owners and industry professionals the most up-to-date information on equine genetics. The first in a series of seven webinars, "Equine Genetics 101," will be presented at no charge on Apr. 22 at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard or noon central time. Presented by Molly McCue, Assistant Professor of Veterinary Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota, the webinar will explore basic genetic principles that apply to traits and diseases. Dr. McCue will also discuss diseases that can be identified through genetic testing, how veterinarians are using genetic testing in diagnosis, and applications of genetic testing to breeding programs. Recent advances in genetic technology, starting with the sequencing of the human genome in 2001, have led to a much greater understanding of genetics. Scientists and physicians are recognizing the role of genetics not only in visible traits but more importantly in invisible traits that have a great influence on health and disease. The same techniques used to sequence the human genome are now being applied to domestic animal species, including the horse. The equine genome was completely sequenced in early 2007. In the past two years, researchers have developed the genetic tools necessary to research both simple and complex genetic traits in horses.  The webcast series, "Equine Genetics: A New Diagnostic Resource for Horse Owners," is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Research Initiative. Future programs will focus on genetic applications, management of equine metabolic syndrome and shivers, and advances in equine genetics. There is no charge to join the webinar, but registration is required. To register, go to www.myhorseuniversity.com/genetics.  Participants must register by Apr. 21.  Information on how to join the webinar will be e-mailed to participants who register.