This episode’s guests are Drs. Ernie Bailey, of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, and Samantha Brooks of the University of Florida.

Ernie Bailey, PhD, is a Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center. His key areas of interest are immunogenetics and genomics. He is interested in the genetic influences on the innate and adaptive immune systems that protect the horse from infectious diseases. Other interests include the development of the genetic map for horses and investigation of genes involved in the health of the horse, such as contracted tendons, extreme lordosis and dwarfism.

Bailey received his Bachelors of Science in genetics from the University of California, Davis, in 1973, then received his Masters in comparative pathology from UC Davis in 1975 and his PhD in genetics from that university in 1980.

Samantha Brooks, PhD, is an Associate Professor of equine physiology at the University of Florida’s Department of Animal Sciences. After she received her BS degree in agricultural biotechnology from the University of Kentucky, Brooks earned her PhD in equine genetics under the mentorship of Bailey. She then was awarded the Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the expression of inflammatory genes in horses affected with laminitis.

In 2009, Brooks became an Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Animal Science. In 2014, she moved to the University of Florida and has moved up through the ranks to Associate Professor.

Her research program explores a variety of topics relevant to horse health ranging from gene expression studies to mapping of genetic disorders in the horse. Previously her research group discovered genetic mutations and markers for coat colors, height, sarcoid tumors and two neurological conditions. Ongoing work targets variation in gait, susceptibility to infectious disease, metabolic syndrome and skeletal defects using genome-wide association, genome re-sequencing and transcriptomics.

This episode covers the topic of Genes as Management Tools. We discuss how genetics touches equine veterinarians on a day-to-day basis; adaptation and evolution; fragile foal syndrome; OCD; roaring; reproduction; and infectious disease.

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