14th International Havemeyer Foundation Horse Genome Workshop

14th International Havemeyer Foundation Horse Genome Workshop a great success

The 14th Havemeyer Horse Genome Workshop was held from May 12 to 15, 2024 at the University of Caen, bringing together an international community of 110 people to share scientific results on the horse genome. A resounding success that will undoubtedly raise the international profile of INRAE, the GABI unit, LABÉO, the city of Caen and the Normandy region.

Created in 1995, this event takes place every two years, alternating between the USA and another partner country. Historically, it has been largely funded by the Dorothy Havemeyer Foundation (NY, USA). This 14th edition was organized at the University of Caen by the BIGE team of the GABI unit, in local collaboration with the LABÉO laboratory and the CAGT laboratory (CNRS, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse). The North American origin of the congress implies a very large participation of American teams (45%) with notably teams from the Universities of Cornell, Lexington, Minnesota and Davis.  

Four main themes for the plenary sessions : 

1) equine evolution, breed development and management ; 
2) functional genomics, epigenetics and reproduction ; 
3) performance genomics and welfare, and
4) equine disease genomics. 

Guest speakers presented a synthesis from prehistory to the history of horse domestication (L. Orlando, CNRS, CAGT), epigenetic transmission of fertility traits (H Kiefer, INRAE, Breed), genetic anti-doping in humans (N Leuenberger, Lausanne Univ Hospital). 

New developments include the use of machine learning and deep learning models for fine phenotyping (analysis of video images of movement) and genotype-based prediction of racing performance traits and myopathies. In addition, the first tools for using information from the Equine Pangenome have been developed and made available, opening up new prospects for processing and using the genetic variability available in the different breeds.  

Four exchange workshops on specific equine genetics methodology themes provided a forum for discussions on the construction of shared tools, notably on the equine pangenome, genotyping methodologies, and the detection of mutations associated with rare Mendelian diseases and complex polygenic diseases.

In addition to the excellent science praised by the scientific committee and participants, the organizational conditions were highly conducive to exchanges. The four days were punctuated by visits to the Bayeux Museum, the Caen Memorial and the CIRALE Clinical Research Center for Locomotion and Imaging of the Horse Musculoskeletal System. A resounding success, to be seen on the congress website, where you can find the proceedings and photos of the highlights!
With this in mind, the BIGE team is delighted to be launching the GENi project on the genetics of performance and counter-performance in racehorses and sports horses, in partnership with the LABÉO laboratory and the CIRALE-ENVA Center, supported by the Normandy Region.

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Modification date: 06 June 2024 | Publication date: 06 June 2024 | By: GABI