UT Receives Grant for Student/Faculty Equine Research

Study will Focus on the Genetics of Eye Color Variation in Horses

Published: Dec 23, 2011
Rebecca Bellone, associate professor of biology at the University of Tampa, has received a $3,200 grant from TriLink BioTechnologies to facilitate research on the genetics of the “tiger eye” in pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses.

Most horses have brown eyes, while the “tiger eye” iris color is a yellow-orange shade that is unique to this breed of horse and is a favorable trait. Bellone hopes to identify a causative mutation or associated marker that could be used as a DNA test for horse breeders to predict the trait. The grant will fund primers that will be used in DNA sequencing reactions to find the mutation.

Under the supervision of Bellone, the research is being conducted by a UT undergraduate student, Elizabeth Kowalski. A senior biochemistry student and recipient of two University of Tampa Department of Biology summer research fellowships, Kowalski has presented some of her findings already at two international conferences, and has one published abstract. The results of her work funded by this grant will also be presented at conferences and submitted for publication.

Bellone, who specializes in molecular biology related to animal genetics, previously received grants from TriLink in 2003 and 2005. Bellone was most recently recognized internationally for research of 25,000-year-old cave paintings of spotted horses on the walls of caves in Pech Merle, France.

The TriLink ResearchRewards program targets educators and academic researchers who need additional reagents to teach basic concepts or supplement their primary funding. Since 1996 TriLink has offered cutting edge services to researchers in the fields of gene therapy, nucleoside chemotherapy, oligonucleotide therapy and diagnostics. TriLink manufactures custom oligonucleotides, modified nucleoside triphosphates and CleanAmp™ PCR products for the research, diagnostic, therapeutic and OEM markets. In addition, custom chemistry, long RNA transcript synthesis, contract research services and ISO/QSR compliant cGMP production facilities are offered. Richard Hogrefe, the president and chief executive officer, is a UT alumnus.

For more information about the firm and products, call (858) 546-0004, email info@trilinkbiotech.com, or visit their web site at www.trilinkbiotech.com.