Page 9 - cawv1ed4

This is a SEO version of cawv1ed4. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

so the trait’s expression may skip generations. With a DNA test available, there is no longer a need for guessing whether or not a horse is a CA carrier. More importantly, the production of CA afected foals can be completely avoided.

Here in lies the true value of genetic testing; to provide an important tool for breeders to use. These tests should not be used against breeders nor should breeders feel the need to hide from using this technology. The information provided by testing should be used to make informed decisions in the best interest of the horses and the breed…nothing more and nothing less. Mutations are part of the life process and the Arabian horse has not been exempted from this basic biologic fact; so trying to ignore this reality will not make the breed mutation free. CA is not new to the Arabian breed. What is new, however, is the ability to test and know whether a horse is clear, carrier or afected.

Responsible breeding involves a lot of decision making; there is no way around it. At some point in this process, challenging subjects will arise and that is where making informed choices becomes a vital part of being a good and responsible breeder. Breeders must realize that every breeding selection, with every resulting foal, is a piece of the large mosaic making up the Arabian breed; it is not just an individual program that is afected by breeding decisions. Every Arabian horse produced, regardless of who the breeder may be, is a refection of the overall quality, health and genetic diversity of the breed.

With testing comes understanding the results and using the information responsibly. So, what to do about CA carriers; should they be used for breeding? This is one of those challenging issues that frst must be acknowledged, and then viewed not only from an individual breeder’s perspective, but also at the breed wide level. For an individual breeder, there is no right or wrong answer; it is a personal choice and either selection is valid. However, for the overall breed, the answer is more complicated because there are multiple recessive genetic disorders to contend with; the issue of whether or not to use carriers for breeding is not limited only to CA. In essence, to automatically remove all carriers from the breeding population, based solely on genetic testing status, would signifcantly impact the availability of bloodlines that are needed to help maintain genetic diversity. This genetic diversity is something that is vital for the long term well being of the breed.

There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water - it is possible to avoid the production of CA afected foals and limit the frequency of the CA mutation in the gene pool, while still maintaining as much genetic diversity as possible. This can be accomplished by testing and selectively using carriers. First and foremost, two carriers should not be bred together. In addition, the use of carriers in breeding should be limited to high quality or rare individuals. And, just as important, is using suitable clear ofspring of carriers for breeding, when available.

Looking Forward

The ever increasing advances in science are providing the opportunity for Arabian horse owners around the world to continue learning and improving the management of their horses. While some of this information may initially pose some challenges and bring with it some controversy, the Arabian horse community must maintain an open mind and be willing to learn and adjust. To react out of fear or misunderstanding, or even worse, to adopt the easy way out of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, is not in the best interest of the horses or the breed.

Breeders have the ability to boldly and responsibly face the reality of dealing with CA, as well as the other genetic disorders afecting the Arabian horse. The way forward is education, testing and disclosure. The CA Project, being conducted at the UC Davis VGL, is an excellent example of how support from the global Arabian horse community has provided valuable contributions for helping to move research forward. While tremendous progress has been made, the work is not yet complete and this continued support will be vital for the CA research eforts still to come. The Arabian Horse Foundation, as a fnancial supporter of this project, is providing periodic updates on the UC Davis CA Project at http://www.arabianhorsefoundation.org/news. html and additional information on CA can also be found at http://www.arabianhorses.org/education/ genetic/default.asp

9

Page 9 - cawv1ed4

This is a SEO version of cawv1ed4. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »