In the category of wasting time and money, we have a not-surprising DNA study conducted on Thoroughbreds. It concluded that all Thoroughbreds were descended from three stallions and about twenty-five mares. The study also concluded that one of the stallions was the most influential.

Okay, perhaps if you’re not a horse-person, this is news. It doesn’t take much research on Thoroughbreds to discover that the breed was indeed founded by the breeding of the Byerley Turk, the Godolphin Barb and the Darley Arabian to a select group of mares. It also doesn’t take much research to discover that although he had a book written about him, the Godolphin Barb isn’t considered as influential as the other two. Almost all children interested in horses find out these facts with just a little bit of reading since these foundation stallions are repeated in nearly every equine reference book. Add the fact that every purebred horse’s bloodlines are carefully recorded at birth, and you understand why I consider this research a waste of time and money.

Fortunately, it was funded by a private foundation and not public grant money. Still, it was an awful lot of effort to tell the world something that was already quite well known. Next up: a study to discover why horses like grain.

2 thoughts on “a waste of money

  1. I believe its common for researchers to never trust other people’s work, even if it has been done over and over. Racehorse breeders all know about the traditional foundations of the breed but with the advent of dna mapping geneticist can now prove them to be true.

    In my family history research I have been able to do the same. This summer I sent in a sample from my cheeks and found out I have all of these identical matches from the British Isles, most of them from Scotland (like I expected) with the last name of McGregor. Now, since my last name isn’t McGregor and this was the Y-Chromosome test, it stands to reason a bunch of these McGregors had descended from some fellow that had changed his name to avoid the law. Or maybe my male line had someone change his name to avoid the law. It is interesting and beyond that not all that important, just like the racehorses.

    It’s been a couple of years since I saw you the last time and for some reason I thought of you tonight. I hope you are doing well.

    Bill

  2. Ha! Very interesting.. I’ve known about the history of thoroughbreds since I was a kid.. all a person has to do is read a few teen novels about horses (The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague) and they’ll come to the same conclusion as these here scientists. I suppose it’s kind of useful to know the scietific origins of thoroughbreds (ie. now they can test foals for thoroughbred DNA so that rich people don’t get gipped when they buy their $100k purebred thoroughbred?!.. or something along those lines).. but frankly it’d be much better to, say, spend a buncle of cash on a study showing the prevalence of sociopathic tendencies among people in positions of social authority (CEO’s, cops, lawyers, doctors etc) since there seems to be a connection between mental disorders and individuals in these positions.

    Some interesting info:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/96/open_boss.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/04/AR2005070401133.html

    Or check out the book “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout

    http://www.thecorporation.com

    sorry to get all political.. just posting too your blog because we have a similar background and mindset.

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