Research project: horse blood groups

Our big research project this year is to find the genes responsible for the horse blood groups.

Horse blood group systems are more complex than the common human blood group system ABO and Rh. Their blood group systems are called A, C, D, K, P Q and U.

We are looking for old horses that were fully blood-typed for parentage back in the day when that was how parentage was done. We need to compare fresh DNA from these horses to their old blood group records to find which genes correspond to their blood groups.

At the moment there is patchy information about some blood groups, but not all. If we can find the responsible genes, we’ll be able to offer genetic blood group testing.

This would be a tool to avoid neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI), which is a rare but severe newborn health issue relevant to all horse and pony breeds.

We need to get this project done before all the old horses with known blood groups pass away – they would all be in their twenties by now so there are fewer each year.

If you have a horse that was fully blood-typed for parentage in the old way please contact us

News Reporter