Scientists working at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket have found the location of the gene that gives grey horses their colour.
The research is part of the trust’s ongoing work to map the equine genome within the next three years.
According to a BBC news story, the discovery may help scientists understand why melanoma isso common among grey horses. Recent theories include a biochemical link between the disease and the coat colour of grey horses, which changes with age.
Dr Matthew Binns, AHT head of genetics, told BBC Online: “If we can actually understand the process maybe in the future it would be possible to develop drugs which would block melanoma.”
Once completed, the equine genome research will be used to develop tests to locate inherited diseases in horses, such as melanoma and sweet itch. This will enable breeders to breed selectively to reduce the likelihood of these diseases.
Read more about equine genetics: