Natural-Gaited Horses Have a Change in Their Genes – 8/30/12


Icelandic Horse

A team of Swedish, Icelandic and American scientists has shown that the special gaits of horses such as Icelandic Horses and Tennessee Walking Horses require a single change in a gene called DMRT3. It creates a protein used in neurons of a horse’s spine, those which coordinate the movements of its limbs.  The gene change is absent in all horses that stick to the standard walk, trot and gallop.

CLICK HERE to read the story in Discover Magazine.

DR. RAMEY NOTES:  The DMRT3 gene mutations are almost non-existent in the wild because horses that have the gene have difficulty transitioning from trots and paces to full-blown gallops. They lack the coordination necessary to pull off the fastest gait.  If they can’t go get going fast quickly, predators could easily remove them from the gene pool.

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