Genetic Testing for American Quarter Horses

August 28th, 2014 10:34 AM | No Comments

The AQHA five-panel genetic tests helps breeders make better breeding decisions.

Image courtesy of the Quarter Horse Journal.

Image courtesy of the Quarter Horse Journal.

Thanks to decades of research, we now know that defects in inheritable genes are responsible for some of the diseases that afflict some American Quarter Horses. The effects of these diseases are wide-ranging, from mild and manageable to severe and terminal. Passing these diseases on to successive generations often causes unnecessary suffering and also leads to financial losses for breeders.

Fortunately, genetic tests have been developed to help breeders identify affected horses, allowing them to make better decisions and avoid perpetuating these traits. AQHA offers a panel test for five genetic diseases – glycogen branching enzyme deficiency, hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), malignant hyperthermia and polysaccharide storage myopathy.

Beginning with the 2014 breeding season, all stallions breeding 25 or more mares are required to have the five-panel disease test results on file, per Rule REG108.5 in the 2014 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. In 2015, all breeding stallions must be tested.

When a horse owner orders an AQHA panel test, AQHA will send a DNA kit, and the owner will mail it to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California-Davis for testing. Once the tests are complete, AQHA will notify the owner with the results.

The tests cost $85 for members and $125 for non-members. For the panel test in conjunction with the DNA test required for most breeding stock, the cost is $105 for members.

The kit asks for mane hair, but tail hair works, too. Most important, however, is for the roots to be attached to the hair. AQHA offers a genetic test for equine coat color. The coat color panel test cost begins at $85. You can order a kit by calling customer service at 806-376-4811 or at

Keep reading to find out why the University of California-Davis handles all of AQHA’s genetic testing lab work.

[Source: America's Horse Weekly]

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