Ligand-dependent nuclear receptor compressor-like (LCORL) encodes a transcription factor, and its polymorphisms are associated with measures of skeletal frame size and adult height in several species. Recently, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) BIEC2-808543 located upstream of LCORL was identified as a genetic diagnostic marker associated with withers height in Thoroughbreds. In this study, 322 Thoroughbreds-in-training were genotyped for BIEC2-808543 to evaluate the association between genotype and body composition traits, including body weight, withers height, the ratio of body weight to withers height, chest circumference, and cannon circumference. Of these, withers height and cannon circumference were significantly associated with LCORL genotypes throughout almost the entire training period in males and females. Animals with a C/T genotype had higher withers height (maximum differences of 1.8 cm and 2.1 cm in males and females, respectively) and cannon circumstance (maximum differences of 0.65 cm and 0.48 cm in males and females, respectively) compared with animals with a T/T genotype. These results suggested that the regulation of LCORL expression influences the skeletal frame size in Thoroughbreds and thus, indirectly affects the body weight. Although LCORL and BIEC2-808543 would be useful for selective breeding in Thoroughbreds, the production of genetically modified animals and gene doping based on genetic information should be prohibited in order to maintain racing integrity.
Keywords: BIEC2-808543; LCORL; Thoroughbred; cannon circumstance; withers height.