The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research


Functional Gene Annotation in the Horse

Principal Investigator: Dr. Douglas F. Antczak
Contact Information: Email: dfa1@cornell.edu - Phone: 607-256-5601
Project Costs: $124,746
Project Period: 1/1/2017-12/31/2018

AntczakDr. Douglas F. Antczak

This application seeks support for Cornell Veterinary College participation a new collaborative research effort of the Horse Genome Workshop group. The project would define the so-called regulatory elements in the equine genome sequence and thereby provide important new information and tools for a wide variety of applications in equine medical research. With grants from the Zweig Fund, the Antczak laboratory at the Baker Institute was a major participant in the collaboration that resulted in the horse genome sequence that is now available freely on-line, and in the development of new assays such as the equine Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) chip and several platforms for measuring gene expression. Cornell’s contribution included the development of microsatellites for the equine linkage map, the Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) library for physical mapping and Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH), and the development and breeding of the unique lines of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) homozygous horses, one of which was selected as the DNA donor for the equine genome sequence produced with funding from the NIH Genome Research Institute.

Here at Cornell virtually every equine research project now uses information from the Horse Genome Project in some form or other. As examples, the Antczak lab used the first version of the equine SNP chip to discover the mutation causing Lavender Foal Syndrome in the Arabian breed and to develop a simple molecular test for carrier detection that is now available to breeders commercially. More recently, Antczak and colleagues identified genetic determinants in equine sarcoid tumors, the most common tumor of the horse and a complex neoplastic disease with a viral origin. The Ainsworth, Wagner, Felippe, Fortier, and Nixon labs have also all used information from the Horse Genome Sequence in their research.