Genetic mutation explains unusual gaits among horses

08/30/2012 | DiscoverMagazine.com

Researchers have found that a mutation in the DMRT3 gene, which codes for a protein that directs horses' spinal neurons to orchestrate movement, allows horses to develop additional, non-traditional gaits such as the tolt and pacing. The findings were corroborated in mice studies, which found gait differences in mice with and without the genetic mutation at DMRT3. All breeds with only the three gaits considered standard for horses, the walk, trot and gallop, lacked the mutation, the study found.

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