Genetic Testing for
Color & Pattern
We are so often asked about color genetics and love to discuss this with horse lovers. We have enjoyed our own horse births when a foal is born that completely surprises us. We often find ourselves researching the color genetic books to figure out our miniature horse colors or patterns. Now that several genetic tests are available, much of the information that used to take us years to realize through breeding, can be determined in a few months after they are born through genetic testing. We are thankful that so many genetic tests exist today and look forward to even more becoming available in the coming years.
Every year new horse genetic tests become available. Rather than list which tests these labs do, it is best to refer to the laboratories website to obtain a list of their latest available tests. All these labs have the submission information that can be downloaded and the prices for the tests listed.
Animal Genetics, Inc.
University of California Davis, Veterinary Genetics Lab
The University of Kentucky
Sabino Pinto Test
A DNA test for Sabino is now available at all three labs shown above. This test will be very helpful in establishing if a horse carries the sabino gene. While this test does not test for all the possible sabino genes, it is the first sabino test that has ever been available and tests for the Sabino (SB1) gene. All that is needed is a pulled hair sample sent to the lab.
We were fortunate to be included in the University of Kentucky sabino research in 2004 and submitted twelve samples to the research. Examples of horses that tested positive for the sabino gene can be seen on our website. This is a new exciting test for miniature horse owners that are interested in positively identifying another pinto pattern.
Horses that are homozygous for sabino (sb1) are completely white at birth, and could be confused as cremellos, though genetic testing would correctly identify them as sabinos. Sabinos can have dark or blue eyes. Lethal white foals are also completely white at birth, but die within hours or days. These lethal white foals can only occur when two frame (LWO) horses are bred together. Lethal foals can be avoided by testing the horses before they are bred to determine if they carry the lethal white gene.