A genetic mutation of the MYH1 gene is responsible for a muscle wasting condition that is most commonly found in Quarter Horses. Though rare, immune mediated myositis (IMM), is an autoimmune disease where the immune system of the horse attacks the skeletal muscles, causing rapid wasting of the topline muscles. The condition can also be found in Paint Horses. The disease generally affects hoses younger than 8 or older than 17 and is treated with corticosteroids.
Specific stallions appear more frequently in the genetic lineage of Quarter Horses affected by the disease. Carrie Finno and her research team hypothesized that there was an underlying genetic variant carried by specific stallions that might be causing susceptibility to IMM. The study team used 36 Quarter horses with diagnosed IMM and 54 horses of similar breed without IMM for their study.
It was determined that the E321G mutation in the MYH1 gene was highly associated with susceptibility to IMM, reports HorseTalk. MYH1 encodes for myosin, a motor protein.
Read more at HorseTalk.
Read the full study here.
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