Home Articles Veterinary medicine Articles Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency
Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency
Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED)
is a genetic disease affecting horses, especially American Quarter
Horses and related breeds. Lacking an enyzme necessary for storing
glycogen, the horse's heart muscle and skeletal muscles cannot
function, leading to rapid death.
The disease occurs in foals who are homozygous
for the lethal GBED allele, meaning both parents must be heterozygous
for the allele. A blood test for this allele was developed by
the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and
as of 2005 is licensed to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.
Using this, breeders can avoid crosses that could produce GBED
foals, and eventually selectively breed it out. Initial samples
suggest that about 10% of Quarter Horses are carriers.