Source
Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.


Thoroughbred racing Scientists think racehorses have special speed genes that make them good sprinters.
(John Gress / Reuters)

One Big Speedy Family

Scientists have traced racehorses like Secretariat to a single mare from the 1600s

By Tyrus Cukavac | January 31 , 2012
<p>Scientists studied Secretariat’s DNA to help identify what makes racehorses so fast. (Bettmann / Corbis) </p>

Scientists studied Secretariat’s DNA to help identify what makes racehorses so fast. (Bettmann / Corbis)

What did famous racehorses Secretariat, Seabiscuit, and Man o’ War have in common? Besides being champions at the racetrack, they may all be closely related to each other, according to scientists in the United Kingdom.

Those scientists compared DNA samples from almost 600 horses from 22 different breeds (including some zebras and donkeys). DNA is the genetic code found in all living things that carries information about an organism and its family tree. The researchers also studied the remains of 12 famous horses, like Secretariat, which are housed in museums. The racehorses’ DNA all pointed back to one mare (female horse) that lived in England in the 17th century.

They also found that most champion horses have a combination of two specific genes that affect muscle development in the horses. This special gene combination allows them to sprint, or run very quickly in short bursts, which is an important element of horse racing.

Horse racing is a popular sport all across the world and has many passionate fans. If scientists can identify what makes a horse run fast, some racehorse owners could have an edge in races by buying horses with the right genes.

Scientists are also using this kind of research to learn more about how genes affect all living things, including people. Understanding better how genes work can help scientists find out what genes cause cancer and other diseases, and maybe even develop cures.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Lexile® Leveled Content Area Library, Interest Level: Intermediate, Levels 700–799

    Lexile® Leveled Content Area Library, Interest Level: Intermediate, Levels 700–799

    Increase the Informational Text in your classroom with this valuable collection designed to meet interests across all Lexile® measures.

    Organized by Lexile, this 20-book collection contains age-appropriate content-area trade books that students at different levels can read successfully and enjoy. This collection features high-interest science and social studies titles.


    See below for complete list of titles. Appropriate titles of equal value may be substituted if any of the listed titles are unavailable at shipping time.

    Title list:
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Butterflies
    • The Camping Trip That Changed America
    • The Congress of the United States
    • Dinosaur Detectives
    • First Encyclopedia of Science
    • Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections
    • Hydrology: The Study of Water
    • In Their Own Words: Paul Revere
    • Money Madness
    • The Moon
    • Nature's Children: Pandas
    • Oceanography: The Study of Oceans
    • Poison!
    • Queen of the Track
    • So You Want to Be President?
    • Stop Bullying
    • The Sun
    • True Tales of Animal Heroes
    • When Marian Sang

    $89.00 You save: 33%
    Paperback Book Collection | Grades 3-5
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Lexile® Leveled Content Area Library, Interest Level: Intermediate, Levels 700–799
    Grades 3-5 $89.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers: Duke Ellington

    Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers: Duke Ellington

    by Mike Venezia and Mike Venezia

    The perfect introduction to great composers, both modern and classical, featuring illustrations, biographical data and more. "Attractive and personable. A useful first look for younger children."—SLJ

    $5.21 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grade 3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers: Duke Ellington
    Grade 3 $5.21
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com