The Institute for Equine Genomics

Mission Statement

The Institute for Equine Genomics (IEG) has a two-fold mission. First, to provide training for undergraduate and graduate researchers in large-scale genomics and computational biology, as they relate to equine development, behavior and performance. Second, the Institute would serve as a mechanism to improve the quality of life for horses by identifying genetic alleles that may be detrimental within or across equine breeds.


Faculty Involvement:


  • Dr. Steven Tammariello (Biological Sciences)

Collaborating faculty:

  • Dr. Anthony Fiumera (Biological Sciences) - Genomics and computational modeling

  • Dr. James Sobel (Biological Sciences) - Adaptive genome modeling

  • Dr. Carol Miles (Biological Sciences) - Animal behavior

  • Dr. Dennis McGee (Biological Sciences) - Cell signaling and inflammation

  • Dr. Kimberly Jaussi (School of Management) - Behavioral management

Background and Niche:

The use of genomics to understand the basis for observed phenotypic variation has become widespread this decade, and is commonly utilized in models of human disease, animal science, horticulture, and human reproduction. This discipline is based on the central dogma of cell biology which states that the linear sequence of DNA in the nuclear genome of a eukaryotic organism is directly responsible for the proteins, both structural and enzymatic, that are the basis of all phenotypic properties of that organism. Simply stated, changing the sequence of the DNA in the nucleus can lead to variation in protein production that will affect the cells, organs, and potentially the entire organism.

An example in horses lies in the myostatin gene, which gives rise to a protein that is involved in muscle contraction. One variant is found in horses that are known to be sprinting-type, while an alternate variant, which only differs by one small change in the DNA, gives rise to horses that are capable of running longer distances. These variants also affect disease, metabolism, height, behavior, and all other systems in a living organism.

For More Information

For more information about IEG please contact Steven P. Tammariello, PhD Director, Institute for Equine Genomics at 607-777-2008.