Genetics To Blame For Friesian’s Eye Issues

A study team led by Dr. Rebecca Bellone, of the University of California Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, has identified a genetic variant as the cause of a painful eye condition in Friesian horses. The condition, called distichiasis, causes hairs to grow at odd angles along the eyelid; these hairs rub the cornea, making the eye irritated and painful. Severe cases may result in corneal ulceration and possibly the loss of the eye.

Distichiasis can be treated by removing the offending hairs via thermocautery, but the condition recurs in nearly 50 percent of cases. To determine the genetic cause of this condition, the scientists traced the family trees of 14 horses afflicted with the condition. The team discovered a large chromosome deletion between two genes on the ECA13 chromosome strongly associated with distichiasis.

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The team concluded that distichiasis in Friesians is a trait with incomplete penetrance, meaning that the condition may show up in some individuals with two copies of the variant, or the horse may show no sign of the condition at all. The research team noted that testing can avoid crosses that produce animals that are homozygous for the variant. Results can also be used to ensure affected horses are evaluated often to prevent irreversible corneal damage.

To read the full study, click here.

Read more at Equine Science Update.

The post Genetics To Blame For Friesian’s Eye Issues appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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