Copyright © Brooks Equine Genetics

Fill out the forms and mail them along with the hair sample to:

Brooks Equine Genetics Lab
PO Box 103610
2033 Mowry Road, RM 330G, Cancer and Genetics Research Center
University of Florida
Gainesville FL, 32608


Do you have a Rabicano horse? Send us a hair sample!

Please write this in the comments section of your donation, to ensure that the funds are directed to our work:

“Please apply this donation to horse research conducted by the Brooks Equine Genetics Lab.”

What is the significance of this project?

Rabicano, "ticking" or "skunk tail" is a white pattern in horses that can vary in expression from a small "frosting" over the tail to an almost roan appearance. Yet, its genetic causes are still unknown. In this study, we will identify the genetic variations likely to cause rabicano by fully sequencing the genome of a horse with this spotting pattern. These variations will lay a foundation for development of a genetic test for rabicano, for better informed breeding and selection decisions.

What is the context of this research?

Would you like to participate in the study?

​Decoding Rabicano:

The genetics of extra "chrome" in horses?

Would you like to help us reach our goal? Donate here: 

What are the goals of the project?

Horse owners have already volunteered samples from a family of horses consistently showing the rabicano pattern in several generations, as well as samples of diverse unrelated horses with the rabicano phenotype. This project will be the first to investigate the genetic cause of this white spotting pattern. The rabicano phenotype has been observed in several equine breeds as American Quarter HorsesArabians, Thoroughbreds, diverse Warmblood breeds, the Brazilian Mangalarga, and the South-American Criollo, to name a few. This project will not only define the causative mutation for this white pattern, but as well as provide insights into gene function, better understanding of white patterns mechanisms and melanocyte migration in horses.

The goal of this project is to document candidate genetic variations in a the whole genome sequence from a rabicano horse representing a family popular for the color. With this information, we will then test several rabicano and non-rabicano horses to identify the variations most likely to cause the spotting pattern. Our test population will comprise several diverse breeds as well, to determine if all rabicano is caused by the same mutation or if there are different variants resulting in the same pattern. These results will provide information to develop genetic tests to detect rabicano, allowing informed selection for this desired coat pattern.

Thank you in advance, from all of us! If you still have any questions, please don't hesitate in contacting our lab - (352)273-8080, - or e-mailing Laura Patterson Rosa ( You can also e-mail us pictures of your horse.

Horses, as a domesticated species, are highly valued for their coat color. Humans have actively selected for diverse patterns on the horses coat since domestication. Distinct and striking white patterns capture our attention and in some breeds, like the American Paint Horse, are highly desired. Although the genetic basis for several white patterns are known (ie Tobiano (To), Sabino 1 (Sb1)Splashed White and Dominant White) the genetics underlying Rabicano are still a mystery. Rabicano is an eye-catching white pattern that usually gives horses an "extra chrome" in the form of white ticking hairs interspersed on the horse's barrel, flank, base of the tail and adjacent areas. It is thought to be due to a single dominant allele, and thus, a perfect candidate for genetic study.