Generation of a Biobank From Two Adult Thoroughbred Stallions for the Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes Initiative

Callum G. Donnelly, Rebecca R. Bellone, Erin N. Hales, Annee Nguyen, Scott A. Katzman, Ghislaine A. Dujovne, Kelly E. Knickelbein, Felipe Avila, Ted S. Kalbfleisch, Elena Giulotto, Nicole B. Kingsley, Jocelyn Tanaka, Elizabeth Esdaile, Sichong Peng, Anna Dahlgren, Anna Fuller, Michael J. Mienaltowski, Terje Raudsepp, Verena K. Affolter, Jessica L. PetersenCarrie J. Finno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Following the successful creation of a biobank from two adult Thoroughbred mares, this study aimed to recapitulate sample collection in two adult Thoroughbred stallions as part of the Functional Annotation of the Animal Genome (FAANG) initiative. Both stallions underwent thorough physical, lameness, neurologic, and ophthalmic (including electroretinography) examinations prior to humane euthanasia. Epididymal sperm was recovered from both stallions immediately postmortem and cryopreserved. Aseptically collected full thickness skin biopsies were used to isolate, culture and cryopreserve dermal fibroblasts. Serum, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and gastrointestinal content from various locations were collected and cryopreserved. Under guidance of a board-certified veterinary anatomic pathologist, 102 representative tissue samples were collected from both horses. Whole tissue samples were flash-frozen and prioritized tissues had nuclei isolated and cryopreserved. Spatially contemporaneous samples of each tissue were submitted for histologic examination. Antemortem and gross pathologic examination revealed mild abnormalities in both stallions. One stallion (ECA_UCD_AH3) had unilateral thoracic limb lameness and bilateral chorioretinal scars. The second stallion (ECA_UCD_AH4) had subtle symmetrical pelvic limb ataxia, symmetrical prostatomegally, and moderate gastrointestinal nematodiasis. DNA from each was whole-genome sequenced and genotyped using the GGP Equine 70K SNP array. The genomic resources and banked biological samples from these animals augments the existing resource available to the equine genomics community. Importantly we may now improve the resolution of tissue-specific gene regulation as affected by sex, as well as add sex-specific tissues and gametes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number650305
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
StatePublished - Mar 8 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Grayson Jockey Club Foundation, USDA NRSP-8 and the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. Support for CF was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (L40 TR001136). None of the funding agencies had any role in the design of the study, analysis, interpretation of the data, or writing of the manuscript. Salary support for SP was provided by the Ann T. Bowling Fellowship at the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Donnelly, Bellone, Hales, Nguyen, Katzman, Dujovne, Knickelbein, Avila, Kalbfleisch, Giulotto, Kingsley, Tanaka, Esdaile, Peng, Dahlgren, Fuller, Mienaltowski, Raudsepp, Affolter, Petersen and Finno.


  • biobank
  • horse
  • male
  • stallion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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