According to the article, “How the Quarter Horse won the Rodeo” , quarter horses are known for their superior speed, agility, and tranquility. Why are these horses so superior? According to BioMed Central’s open access journal, BMC Genomics, used sequencing to map variation in the genome of the quarter horse male. The sequencing revealed that the quarter horse’s genome was enriched for variants in genes involving sensory perception, signal transduction and the immune system. Further research was done on the genetic variants of these horses by the researchers from Texas A&M University. The researchers evaluated genetic variants in quarter horses such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), copy number variants (CNV), and insertions and deletions (INDELs).
Not only do these variants help explain the uniqueness and superiority of these horses, but they have also been of use to equine breeders and veterinary medicine to improve the health and performance of these horses. For example, these variants can be used to fix HERDA, a disease in which the skin of the quarter horses is fragile and thus tears easily. So, in the spirit of the film GATTACA and the ethics of genetic engineering, what are your feelings on using these variants to enhance these quarter horses? And what about enhancing humans?