The domestic horse, Equus caballus, is a member of the mammalian order Perrisodactyla. The horse genome is being sequenced for two reasons. It is expected to help identify functional genome features common to all mammals, and it will serve as a tool for researchers to better understand the diseases that affect equines. The recent creation of modern breeds and the presence of specific diseases within certain breeds together suggest that trait mapping may be relatively easy within horse breeds. Since horses and humans share a number of medical conditions (such as allergies and arthritis), mapping disease genes using horse populations may in turn benefit human health.
The equine genome sequencing project, performed mostly at the Broad Institute, has produced a high-quality draft sequence of a female thoroughbred horse. BAC end reads for the project were generated by the University of Veterinary Medicine, in Hanover, and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. In addition, the project generated a large collection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), to allow the mapping of genetic traits in horse populations. SNPs will be identified from a variety of modern and ancestral breeds, including the Akal-teke, Andalusian, Arabian, Icelandic, Quarterhorse, Standardbred, and Thoroughbred.