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Genomic Breeding Values

What You Need to Know About DNA Breeding Values for Osteochondrosis


In March 2016, the Breeding Council recommended the following regarding the genomic breeding values for osteochondrosis (OC): implementation of a predicate for stallions and mares based on DNA analysis for OC.

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As a result, in the coming 2016/2017 stallion selection, riding horse stallions presented for ‘s-Hertogenbosch must possess this predicate and pass a radiographic examination for navicular syndrome and degenerative joint disease. Because of this new protocol, the traditional radiographic examination for OC will be discontinued.

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In 2016, the transition year to the new DNA predicate, the current PROK examination as well as the DNA predicate may be used to secure the elite predicate for mares. Beginning in 2017, only the DNA predicate may be applied toward the elite predicate. Register A mares or foreign registered mares whose sire has not met KWPN radiographic standards must possess the DNA predicate and pass a radiographic exam for navicular syndrome and degenerative joint disease prior to studbook acceptance.

The Board of Directors has accepted the Breeding Council’s recommendation. In addition, several items in the rules are currently being addressed.

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the new DNA predicate:

What is needed to do a DNA test?
The DNA test will be performed with the aid of a hair sample. The KWPN already has an extensive archive of hair samples of KWPN registered horses that will be used. After requesting a DNA test, the sample is looked up in the archive. If a hair sample is not in stock then we will contact you to discuss the further procedure with you.

Is the DNA test useable for each horse?
No, only for KWPN jumping and dressage horses and horses that are sufficiently related to those populations, such as horses from most Western European sporthorse studbooks. In all other cases, the old selection method will be used (PROK-examination and in case of approved and recognized stallions offspring testing).

What is the outcome of the DNA-test?
The outcome of the test DNA will be a genomic breeding value for OC (GFW OC). This value indicates the position of the horse relative to the current KWPN population. On average, 70% of the population of breeding values comes between 96 and 104. Scores a horse more than 104 then it may be expected that the horse inherits less OC to its offspring. Horses scoring 95 or below are expected to contribute negative for OC inheritance.

Gives a DNA test always an outcome?
Yes, unless something has gone wrong with the submitted hairs, due to which a full DNA profile can not be traced. But that rarely happens.

What does the DNA analysis cost?
€ 150.00 + VAT for KWPN members (price index early 2016, depending on procurement and quantities)

When will I receive the DNA analysis results?
That depends on the laboratory. We strive to have the results in 4 to 6 weeks.

From which date can be applied for the DNA predicate?
The DNA-predicate will only be applied after the Members Council meeting on April 20th, 2016. Horses that have undergone a DNA test and have obtained a genomic breeding value higher than 95, may, after a positive decision of the Members Council, apply for the predicate.

Where will the genomic breeding values be published?
Breeding values of approved/recognized stallions will be published in the Stallion Database, In de Strengen magazine and in the Breeding Values book. Genomic breeding values for mares may be viewed by their respective registered party only in MyKWPN. These breeding values may be made public only with permission of the registered party.

May the DNA analysis be repeated?
There is no benefit in repeating the analysis. A horse’s DNA does not change. What can happen is that the GFW score decreases over the years. This is caused by the fact that the genomic breeding value in the complete population will increase, because the population improves due to this selection. That is the ultimate goal.

Can a horse which did not pass the PROK examination earn the new DNA predicate?
Yes. A horse can have OC itself by external non-hereditary conditions and / or trauma, and therfore it is not PROK-worthy and therefore falls outside the boat in the current situation. With a DNA-test, it is possible to better distinguish between the hereditary and non-hereditary factors of OC. Therefore, genomic selection is such a valuable tool for breeding. A not PROK worthy horse can, based on the genetic material, have a Genomic Breeding Value (GFW) higher than 95 and can in that case get the DNA predicate.

Will the PROK continue after 2016?
Yes, it will still exist for non-related jumping and dressage horses and for Gelder and Harness horses. In addition, each year a number of yearlings undergoes a complete X-ray examination and DNA analysis to keep the DNA reference group of 3000 horses up to date. For KWPN jumping and dressage horses, the PROK investigation will be limited to navicular syndrome and degenerative joint disease. A full PROK investigation remains possible, it will not benefit stallions for approval and it will not count towards the Elite predicate for mares after 2018.

May the new DNA predicate also be used for the sport inspection?
No, as the genomic breeding value for OC provides information about breeding and thus heritability.