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WCM-Q research helps shed light on genetic heritage of Arabian Horse
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WCM-Q research helps shed light on genetic heritage of Arabian Horse

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) have helped probe the genetic diversity and origins of the Arabian horse, prized all over the world for its beauty, grace and athletic endurance.

Renowned for its ability to thrive in extremely hot, arid environments, the Arabian is the oldest recorded breed of horse, with credible documentation stretching back more than 2,000 years placing its development in the Middle East.

Working in collaboration with an international team of fellow researchers, scientists at WCM-Q helped conduct a comprehensive global sampling and analysis of the genomes of 378 individual Arabian horses. Blood and hair samples were painstakingly collected from the horses over an eight-year period.

The international team of scientists was led by the University of Florida's Samantha Brooks, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of animal sciences formerly based at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; Doug Antczak, the Dorothy Havemeyer McConville Professor of Equine Medicine at the Baker Institute for Animal Health of Cornell University; and Andy Clark, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor in Cornell's department of molecular biology and genetics.

Researchers at WCM-Q, led by Dr. Joel Malek, Associate Professor of Genetic Medicine, used the college's state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to assist with the sequencing of the horse DNA. The study was made possible by National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) grant 6-1303-4-023 from the Qatar National Research Fund, a member of Qatar Foundation. The paper, entitled 'Genome Diversity and the Origin of the Arabian Horse' has now been published in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature series of publications.

Read more at The Peninsula.

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