Rhodococcus equi pneumonia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in neonatal foals. Much effort has been made to identify preventative measures and new treatments for R. equi with limited success. With a growing focus in the medical community on understanding the genetic basis of disease susceptibility, investigators have begun to evaluate the interaction of the genetics of the foal with R. equi. This review describes past efforts to understand the genetic basis underlying R. equi susceptibility and tolerance. It also highlights the genetic technology available to study horses and describes the use of this technology in investigating R. equi. This review provides readers with a foundational understanding of candidate gene approaches, single nucleotide polymorphism-based, and copy number variant-based genome-wide association studies, and next generation sequencing (both DNA and RNA).
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