I’m sure by now, you’ve heard of the name Seabiscuit. If not, Seabiscuit was a racehorse. But not just any racehorse, a racehorse that would become the greatest rags-to-riches stories of the Depression era. But, Seabiscuit wasn’t always a strong racehorse. He was incredibly lazy — he preferred to sleep and eat, rather than exercise.
So how was it that Seabiscuit was able to pull off one of the greatest upsets in racehorse history when defeating War Admiral in 1938? We’ll let the DNA do the talking.
A great team of scientists went on to extract DNA from Seabiscuit’s silver hooves. The nuclear DNA was degraded, but the mitochondrial DNA was surprisingly still intact. From the DNA they were able to pull, scientists found that Seabiscuit contained certain gene variants that were found in horses that were good distance runners. In addition to this, there were also underlying variants in minor racing genes that are typically found in sprinting horses.
Seabiscuit had a rare genetic makeup that combined both stamina and speed and that seems to be related to his racing record. And in today’s time, horses with the same genetic makeup, tend to be late bloomers — winning their races almost 3 months later than horses that are associated with precocity genetics.