Irish equine science company, Plusvital, has today announced the launch of an expanded range of genetic tests for the global Thoroughbred horse industry, including four (4) new tests. The formal launch took place at the Curragh racecourse to coincide with the Darley Irish Oaks Day, one of the premier classic race days.
Plusvital’s newly expanded range includes six different genetic tests which evaluate over 48,000 genetic markers for an individual horse. Together these tests can provide Thoroughbred horse owners and breeders with information related to elite racing and breeding potential, optimum race distance, surface preference, height and inbreeding.
Plusvital’s new genetic tests are; Dirt v Turf v1.0; Distance Plus v1.0; Elite Performance v3.0 and Raced/Unraced v1.0.
The new suite of tests was developed by Plusvital’s highly experienced team of research scientists and involved the analysis of 48,000 genetic markers from over 4,000 horses representing 739 unique sires and including over 800 Black Type winners.
To date over 13,000 horses worldwide have been tested by Plusvital/Equinome including over 1,000 Black Type winners. The company’s clients come from every major racing region in the world and include a number of the leading global breeding and racing operations.
Mike Shelly, CEO, Plusvital, said, “The launch of these new genetic tests by Plusvital is a large step forward in terms of the amount of information we can provide to breeders, owners and trainers from their horses’ DNA. Our clients are already using genetic test information to inform their breeding and racing decisions and the additional information in the new tests will further strengthen the use of this technology across the industry where it is being used as a tool to complement existing horsemanship and pedigree analysis.”
He added, “In the last year, we have increasingly seen genetic testing go mainstream with most top yards and breeding organisations familiar with its potential. This was evidenced by the recent high-profile debate about the use of genetic testing to assist in the decision to not send Galileo Gold to the Derby.”
Associate Professor Emmeline Hill, Chief Scientific Officer, Plusvital and a leading equine genomics researcher at University College Dublin (UCD) said, “Advances in the application of genomics in livestock breeding and selection in recent years has been phenomenal. We are now in a position to apply similar approaches in the horse. Our research has identified very strong genetic signals for a range of new traits, and this information will be of considerable value for owners and breeders in decision-making. The coming years will see the development of additional genetic tests for health traits of importance in the Thoroughbred.”
Plusvital is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD. Last year Plusvital acquired Equinome, the leading genomic testing company, and a spin-out from UCD. The company, which currently employs 20 staff, plans to employ 50 staff within the next 5 years.
Plusvital also plans to invest over €3.5 million in equine science research over the next 3 years. This research will result in the introduction of a range of new scientifically-supported equine products in genetics and nutrition, including the development of genetic tests to identify horses with a predisposition to health conditions.