Stunning White Foal's Rise to French Fame
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
In August 2020, Etalon researchers were presented with a puzzling - and adorable - case from France. Our team was presented with two all-white horses: an Arab-Barb stallion imported from Morocco, Aghilasse, and his first foal, Kairaan. Their owner, Ghislaine, was puzzled by their all-white phenotype and sent samples to EtalonDx for genetic testing. After several conversations and digging deep into their DNA, EtalonDx researchers shared an exciting announcement: these horses were the carriers of a NEW Dominant White gene, named W30. The publications were released and it was official: Ghislaine's beautiful white horses were even more special than she ever could've imagined (you may have seen all of the buzz from Etalon's blog and social media pages).
Since then, the buzz has only grown! French reporters have swarmed to Ghislaine's barn to witness the horses themselves. She was interviewed by France 3 (France TV), and the video can be viewed on her blog. On December 7th, Ghislaine and her horses were featured by Cheval Magazine. Check out the article here:
The article reads "Ghislaine explained: "I wanted to know if my stallion was a carrier of lethal white syndrome, that was the first thing I asked the geneticist. I wanted to make sure he was negative and all my horses are negative for this syndrome". Also negative for Sabino, she began to wonder if her stallion was carrying a new Dominant White.
"I had a first videoconference with them, where they told me that they had found the variant, W17, but that there was something strange. Even though the mutation was in the same place, it didn't seem to match the W17."
The researchers realized that all three horses carry a new variant of a Dominant White mutation located on the KIT gene. As stated on their website, this variant is in the same genomic location as a previously reported allele (W17), but this new Dominant White mutation causes a different amino acid change than the previous one. "They call this mutation W30."
Aghilasse will therefore be noted as the founder horse of the W30 allele. But how many horses are carriers? This is a mystery, the stallion having already had several foals before Kairaan and Kaïs, many of which have a white phenotype. One thing is for sure, Ghislaine's three horses are unique and should continue to make their owners dream for many years to come since, as she says, "they are not and will never be for sale. I want to have fun with them and have a happy life"."
Team Etalon is thrilled to have been a part of Ghislaine and her horses' rise to French fame! Thanks again to Ghislaine for trusting Etalon with this exciting discovery, we are so lucky to have participated in this journey. Check out some additional features of Ghislaine and her herd below: