The use of the SLC16A1 gene as a potential marker to predict race performance in Arabian horses
Katarzyna Ropka-Molik , Monika Stefaniuk-Szmukier , Tomasz Szmatoła , Katarzyna Piórkowska , Monika Bugno-Poniewierska
AbstractBackground. Arabian horses are commonly believed to be one of the oldest and the most popular horse breeds in the world, characterized by favourable stamina traits and exercise phenotypes. During intensive training, the rates of lactate production and utilization are critical to avoid muscle fatigue and a decrease in exercise performance. The key factor determining transmembrane lactate transport is the monocarboxylate transporter 1 protein coded for by the SLC16A1 gene. The aim of the present research was to identify polymorphisms in the coding sequence and UTRs in the equine SLC16A1 gene and to evaluate their potential association with race performance traits in Arabian horses. Based on RNA-seq data, SNPs were identified and genotyped using PCR-RFLP or PCR-HRM methods in 254 Arabian horses that competed in flat races. An association analysis between polymorphisms and racing results was performed. Results. Novel polymorphisms in the equine SLC16A1 locus have been identified (missense and 5’UTR variants: g.55601543C > T and g.55589063 T > G). Analysis showed a significant association between the 5’UTR polymorphism and several racing results as follows: the possibility of winning first or second place, the number of races in which horses started and total financial benefits. The analysis also showed differences in genotype distribution depending on race distance. In the studied population, the shorter distance races were only won by TT horses. The GG and TG horses took first and second places in middle- and long-distance races, and the percentage of winning heterozygotes increased from 19.5 to 27% at the middle and long distances, respectively. The p.Val432Ile (g.55601543C > T) polymorphism was not significantly related to the analysed racing results. Conclusion. Our results showed that g.55589063 T > G polymorphism affected the possibility of winning first or second place and of competing in more races. The different distribution of genotypes depending on race distance indicated the possibility of using a SNP in the SLC16A1 gene as a marker to predict the best race distance for a horse. The presented results provide a basis for further research to validate the use of the SLC16A1 gene as a potential marker associated with racing performance.
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