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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:21 pm 
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Press Release – Immediate Release

Equinome Launches Genetic Test for ‘Speed Gene’ in Thoroughbred Horses

Test has potential to transform global bloodstock industry

Dublin, January 20 2010, Equinome, a new Irish biotech company, today announced the launch of a breakthrough genetic test that can identify the optimum racing distance for individual Thoroughbred horses. The identification of ‘The Speed Gene’ is the first known characterisation of a gene contributing to a specific athletic trait in Thoroughbred horses and has the potential to transform decision-making processes in the global bloodstock industry.

The Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding industry is an international, multi-billion euro business, with more than 100,000 foals born each year. Using the Equinome Speed Gene test racehorse owners and trainers around the world will be able to identify if a horse is ideally suited to racing over short, middle or middle-to-long distances. With this information, they can then optimise their purchasing and training decisions and better target suitable races for their horses. Breeders, stallion managers and bloodstock agents will also be able to use the test to make more precise selection and breeding decisions to maximise the genetic potential and commercial value of their horses.

Equinome, a University College Dublin spin-out company headquartered at NovaUCD, will formally launch the test during the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA) Expo 2010. The Expo takes place at Goffs, Kill, Co. Kildare from 29th – 30th January.

The development of the Equinome Speed Gene test is a result of groundbreaking research led by Dr Emmeline Hill, a leading horse genomics researcher at the UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine. This research was the first academic programme in the world to apply novel genomics technologies to identify genetic contributions to racing performance in Thoroughbred horses and was funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Following the success of the research programme, Dr Hill and Mr Jim Bolger, the renowned Irish racehorse trainer and breeder, co-founded Equinome in 2009 to commercialise the test.

The scientific data supporting the Equinome Speed Gene test have been peer-reviewed and published today in a scientific paper entitled A sequence polymorphism in MSTN predicts sprinting ability and racing stamina in Thoroughbred horses in the open access on-line Public Library of Science Journal, PLoS ONE.

According to Dr Emmeline Hill, “Breeding techniques for Thoroughbred horses have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Breeders currently rely on combining successful bloodlines together, hoping that the resulting foal will contain that winning combination of genes. Until now, whether those winning genes have or have not been inherited could only be surmised by observing the racing and breeding success of a horse over an extended period of years after its birth.” She concluded, “Using the Equinome Speed Gene test, a world first in equine genetics, it will now be possible to definitively know a horse’s genetic type within weeks of a sample being taken, thus reducing much of the uncertainty that has been typically involved in selection, training and breeding decisions.”

Speaking about the Equinome Speed Gene test John O'Connor, Managing Director, Ballylinch Stud, Co. Kilkenny said, "The introduction of genetic know-how to breeding will dramatically change the face of the bloodstock industry. We have begun and intend to continue to utilise this highly valuable tool to fine-tune decision making in our operation.” He added, “This will fundamentally change the way we will have to think about breeding in the future."

Dr Emmeline Hill will formally launch Equinome and the Equinome Speed Gene test at 2pm on January 29th at the ITBA Expo 2010 in a seminar entitled Cracking the code: The Speed Gene revealed. Equinome will also be a corporate exhibitor (stand number 5) at this event.

ENDS
20 January 2010

Photographs Available on Request.

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, e: [email protected], t: +353 1 716 3712.

Editor’s Notes
Equinome, a new Irish biotech company, was established in 2009 as a result of groundbreaking research led by company co-founder, Dr Emmeline Hill, and in partnership with racehorse trainer Mr Jim Bolger. Equinome’s ongoing research and development activities continue to support collaborations between world-class science and elite racehorse breeding and training, with facilities established at UCD’s School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine and at Jim Bolger’s training yard in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. Through this research Equinome is continuing to drive the cutting-edge of equine performance genomics. Equinome was the overall winner of NovaUCD’s 2009 Campus Company Development Programme which assists academic entrepreneurs in bringing their innovative ideas from intellectual concepts to fully-developed and sound commercial business enterprises. www.equinome.com

Dr Emmeline Hill hails from a Co. Wexford family synonymous with horse racing and breeding in Ireland. Her grandmother was Charmian Hill, the owner of Dawn Run, the only racehorse to have completed the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle (1984) and Gold Cup (1986) double. She joined UCD in 2002 as a post-doctoral researcher. In 2004 she became a UCD Principal Investigator when she was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Young Researcher Award. Dr Hill maintains strong industry links with horse breeding and training operations in Ireland and internationally and is a member of the International Horse Genome Mapping Group and the International Horse Genome Sequencing Consortium. She graduated in 1995 with a BA (Genetics) from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Molecular Genetics in 2000.

NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre. NovaUCD is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research and for the development of co-operation with the industry and business communities. NovaUCD as a purpose-built incubation centre also nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises. Twenty-four knowledge-intensive companies, including Equinome, are currently located in NovaUCD. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. www.ucd.ie/nova

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:50 pm 
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That's a double edged sword.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:25 am 
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How much will this cost? Seems to me it will be beyond the means of most small-scale breeders.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:47 pm 
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http://www.equinome.com/pages/how-to-order.html

for cost's.........

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Bohemic

What would you have gueesed the current Jockey Club genetic test would cost 5 years before it became a requirment.. This thing is starting out high but eventually competition will gat a foot in the door and prices will become affordable.

Don't you just love free market capitalism??

griff

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:38 pm 
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griff wrote:
Bohemic

What would you have gueesed the current Jockey Club genetic test would cost 5 years before it became a requirment.. This thing is starting out high but eventually competition will gat a foot in the door and prices will become affordable.

Don't you just love free market capitalism??

griff


yes i do...only way to go :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:40 am 
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I imagine that with the kind of sharing that goes on in the educational community we will see this kind of testing available through UC Davis and other scholastic institutions for pricing along the lines of the DNA parentage verification ($40) or the color testing ($?) within a few years. No doubt it will, at some point, become part of the pre-sale vetting along with a scope and x-rays.

Then Keeneland can group yearlings by "type" - ie: sprinters, stayers, turf, etc :lol: instead of by stud fee.

Then the only mystery left will be whether or not that particular gene is expressed in that particular horse. Well still, there will be a roll of the dice in the genetic makeup of the ovarian follicles of a mare, or the sperm of a stallion. And if we've got AI, it will likely be possible analyze, examine, and "fix" the sperm - well for that matter we'd have ET too and so the DNA in the embryo could be engineered.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:13 am 
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I have not seen an DNA engineering in any of the cattle or equine breeds that are presently using AI..

However, I also believe that it will come, not only for our livestock, but for us humans. Will it not be wonderful if we can engineer out birth defect , or a sever desease, out of a human baby?

And, I also suspect that DNA engineering will eventually become available for non AI humans and non AI horses which will allow the Masters in KY to continue to dominate the business and hold back progress

griff

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:28 am 
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griff, they are already working on engineering human DNA to cancel out things like Down's syndrome. I think it will be soon. They have had TESTS for birth defects for years. There is also tremendous research being done regarding DNA markers for susceptibilities to cancer - and how to identify and replace those markers with non-susceptible DNA.

I think that the other species that have AI do NOT have the potential per-head VALUE that one single high-priced TB yearling can have, which might be one reason that money has not yet poured into that kind of research for animals. Genetic splicing, I believe, is just not that far away. I think it will sort of take all of the fun out of breeding, once they all become genetically perfect test tube foals....

It could drive the pasture breeders into another line of work... and a perfect race will be when all 10 hit the wire at the same instant and are marked "DH" for the race...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Madelyn

Your boggie man is too far fetched.. The sky will not fall just because someone thinks they can do the same super error free job that eNicks does using DNA manipllation. Fact is I suspect a similar success rate.

When they finished the human genome they found they had only scratched the surface . And even natural identical twines are not really identical. Even thought they have the same genes they are not the same and do not have the same abilities.

Your boggie man will never come to fruitition because it's just too complicated with things that will probably never be even suspected much less found.

And, even if I'm completely wrong and all your fears are realized it will have nothing to do with AI or no AI.

griff

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:48 pm 
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griff, obviously you cannot splice DNA on sperm after a live cover, nor on an embryo outside a mare, since the live cover rule prevents an embryo outside the uterus of a mare. AI has EVERYTHING to do with making the engineered racehorse a possibility.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Got me on that one

However, I still content that identical twins or even clones have differient capabilities and you whould not have 10 clones hitting the wire at the same time

griff

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:43 pm 
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remember the old commercial slogan......"dont fool with mother nature"....this is a double edged sword....................

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:50 pm 
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from email company sent me......... "EquStem has dramatically dropped the price for this service to $1445 per foal. This includes the collection, processing, and storage of the cells for 5 years"..........must not have gotten to many taker's at first...........

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm 
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I can't see this working for breeders in long time. It will only work for the company.

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