HERDA Test Available


A DNA test for the autosomal recessive connective tissue disorder HERDA has been developed by genetics researchers at Cornell University and is now available to the public.

According to CU geneticist Nena Winand, D.V.M., Ph.D., the test unambiguously identifies normal, carrier and affected horses. Affected foals can be definitively identified at birth.

“I want this to be used as a tool for breeders,” Winand said. “This test will enable us to manage this disease by testing for it and breeding intelligently.”

Editor’s note to ApHC members: Horses from the Poco Bueno (AQHA) line are identified as susceptible and are specifically mentioned in various alerts.

HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) is a disease caused by a homozygous recessive gene. When expressed, it causes a collagen defect in the skin of affected horses resulting in a lack of adhesion in the deep layers of skin. Trauma to the skin results in skin wounds that don’t heal. Most affected horses have a poor quality of life and are typically euthanized.

“As with tests for other genetic disorders, we hope being able to genetically test for HERDA will aid in the humane management of affected horses, and reduce the financial loss for breeders,” Winand said.

The test can be used with hair or blood samples. Testing inquiries can be made to:

Nena Winand, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Medicine
C4-140 VMC
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401
Phone: (607) 253-3608
E-mail at:


  1. Toni Szymanski Said,

    April 4, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

    Thanks for getting this information out! Any word on whether or not or when the ApHC will be set up to receive our test results?


  2. Steve Said,

    April 4, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

    I doubt that it’s been discussed, but it will be – soon.

  3. Toni Szymanski Said,

    April 4, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    Thanks Steve! I know myself and a few other folks are ready to waiting to send in results once we receive our hard copies.

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