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Evaluation of allele frequencies of inherited disease genes in subgroups of American Quarter Horses

Robert C. TryonDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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M. Cecilia T. PenedoVeterinary Genetics Laboratory, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Molly E. McCueDepartment of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

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Stephanie J. ValbergDepartment of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

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James R. MickelsonDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

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Thomas R. FamulaDepartment of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Michelle L. WagnerCollege of Veterinary Medicine, and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

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Mark JacksonDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

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Michael J. HamiltonDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Sabine NooteboomVeterinary Genetics Laboratory, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Danika L. BannaschDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To estimate allele frequencies of the hyperkalaemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), lethal white foal syndrome (LWFS), glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED), hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), and type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) genes in elite performance subgroups of American Quarter Horses (AQHs).

Design—Prospective genetic survey.

Animals—651 elite performance AQHs, 200 control AQHs, and 180 control American Paint Horses (APHs).

Procedures—Elite performance AQHs successful in 7 competitive disciplines (barrel racing, cutting, halter, racing, reining, western pleasure, and working cow horse) were geno- typed for 5 disease-causing alleles. Age-matched control AQHs and APHs were used to establish comparative whole-breed estimates of allele frequencies.

Results—Highest allele frequencies among control AQHs were for type 1 PSSM (0.055) and GBED (0.054), whereas HERDA (0.021) and HYPP (0.008) were less prevalent. Control APHs uniquely harbored LWFS (0.107) and had high prevalence of HYPP (0.025), relative to AQHs. Halter horse subgroups had significantly greater allele frequencies for HYPP (0.299) and PSSM (0.155). Glycogen branching enzyme deficiency, HERDA, and PSSM were found broadly throughout subgroups; cutting subgroups were distinct for HERDA (0.142), and western pleasure subgroups were distinct for GBED (0.132). Racing and barrel racing subgroups had the lowest frequencies of the 5 disease genes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Accurate estimates of disease-causing alleles in AQHs and APHs may guide use of diagnostic genetic testing, aid management of genetic diseases, and help minimize production of affected foals.

Abstract

Objective—To estimate allele frequencies of the hyperkalaemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), lethal white foal syndrome (LWFS), glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED), hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), and type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) genes in elite performance subgroups of American Quarter Horses (AQHs).

Design—Prospective genetic survey.

Animals—651 elite performance AQHs, 200 control AQHs, and 180 control American Paint Horses (APHs).

Procedures—Elite performance AQHs successful in 7 competitive disciplines (barrel racing, cutting, halter, racing, reining, western pleasure, and working cow horse) were geno- typed for 5 disease-causing alleles. Age-matched control AQHs and APHs were used to establish comparative whole-breed estimates of allele frequencies.

Results—Highest allele frequencies among control AQHs were for type 1 PSSM (0.055) and GBED (0.054), whereas HERDA (0.021) and HYPP (0.008) were less prevalent. Control APHs uniquely harbored LWFS (0.107) and had high prevalence of HYPP (0.025), relative to AQHs. Halter horse subgroups had significantly greater allele frequencies for HYPP (0.299) and PSSM (0.155). Glycogen branching enzyme deficiency, HERDA, and PSSM were found broadly throughout subgroups; cutting subgroups were distinct for HERDA (0.142), and western pleasure subgroups were distinct for GBED (0.132). Racing and barrel racing subgroups had the lowest frequencies of the 5 disease genes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Accurate estimates of disease-causing alleles in AQHs and APHs may guide use of diagnostic genetic testing, aid management of genetic diseases, and help minimize production of affected foals.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the American Quarter Horse Foundation and the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.

The authors thank Glen Byrns and Shayne Hughes for technical assistance and the American Quarter Horse Association for DNA samples made available on a confidential basis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bannasch.