Irish biotech firm launches breakthrough genetic test for equestrian industry

22 Jan 2010

Equinome, a new Irish biotech firm based at NovaUCD, has created a genetic test that can identify the optimum racing distance for individual thoroughbred horses.

The development of the Equinome Speed Gene test is a result of research led by Dr Emmeline Hill, a horse genomics researcher at the UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine.

This research was the first of its kind in the world to apply novel genomics technologies to identify genetic contributions to racing performance in thoroughbred horses and was funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

In 2009, Hill teamed up with Jim Bolger, the renowned Irish racehorse trainer and breeder, to co-found Equinome and commercialise the test.

Speaking about the Equinome Speed Gene test, John O’Connor, managing director, Ballylinch Stud, Co Kilkenny, said: “The introduction of genetic know-how to breeding will dramatically change the face of the bloodstock industry. We have begun and intend to continue to utilise this highly valuable tool to fine-tune decision making in our operation.”

Equinome will formally launch the test during the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA) Expo 2010, which takes place at Goffs, Kill, Co Kildare, from 29-30 January.

By Carmel Doyle

Photo: Dr Emmeline Hill, co-founder, Equinome, the NovaUCD-headquartered biotech company

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic