Variants of the MSTN gene encoding myostatin are associated with muscle hypertrophy phenotypes in a range of mammalian species, most notably cattle, dogs, mice, and humans. Using a sample of registered Thoroughbred horses (n = 148), we have identified a novel MSTN sequence polymorphism that is strongly associated (g.66493737C>T, P = 4.85×10-8) with best race distance among elite racehorses (n = 79). This observation was independently validated (P = 1.91×10-6) in a resampled group of Thoroughbreds (n = 62) and in a cohort of Thoroughbreds (n = 37, P = 0.0047) produced by the same trainer. We observed that C/C horses are suited to fast, short-distance races; C/T horses compete favorably in middle-distance races; and T/T horses have greater stamina. Evaluation of retrospective racecourse performance (n = 142) and stallion progeny performance predict that C/C and C/T horses are more likely to be successful two-year-old racehorses than T/T animals. Here we describe for the first time the identification of a gene variant in Thoroughbred racehorses that is predictive of genetic potential for an athletic phenotype. © 2010 Hill et al.
Hill, E. W., Gu, J., Eivers, S. S., Fonseca, R. G., McGivney, B. A., Govindarajan, P., … MacHugh, D. (2010). A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in thoroughbred horses. PLoS ONE, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008645