Scientists claim to have found the ‘racehorse gene’
Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have discovered a mutation in a single gene in horses that inhibits the transition from a trot to gallop.
This allows horses to trot at a very high speed and would be a very desirable attribute.
The tweak to gene DMRT3 controls a horse's skills in ambling, pacing and galloping.
Experiments conducted on this gene in mice could prove fundamental new knowledge about the neural circuits that control leg movements.
In dressage, as a horse increases its speed it will normally switch from trot to gallop, which is the natural gait at high speed, but can lead to disqualification for trotters.
This sort of gene treatment isn't wholly unusual practice in horse racing at officials at the federation Equestre Internationale recently gave the all clear for cloned horses to compete in competition.
PhD student Lisa Anderson commented: "We suspected a strong genetic component, but were almost shocked when we discovered that a single gene, DMRT3, largely explained the genetic difference between pacers and non-pacers."