By Jessica Hein, PHJ News
Splashed White 8, a new white-spotting pattern, was recently discovered by researchers at the University of California-Davis. Their research was published September 12, 2023 in Animal Genetics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The de novo mutation first occurred in Southern Phantom, a 2016 bay overo by Bodemeister (TB) and out of Out For Revenge (TB); though the research doesn’t identify him by name (due to standard research project confidentiality), the horse’s owner confirmed his participation in the study to APHA. Southern Phantom’s bald face, blue eyes, tall stockings and belly white presented like other splashed white patterns, yet he tested negative for known Splashed White variants at the time. His parents are solid bay Thoroughbreds with minimal white markings. Intrigued by Southern Phantom, researchers set out to find the cause of his flashy chrome.
Through whole genome sequencing of Southern Phantom, his parents and his offspring, researchers confirmed a large deletion on the MITF gene; that’s also the genetic home of other Splashed White variants like SW1, SW3, SW5 and SW6.
UC-Davis’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory announced Splashed White 8 testing is now part of their Color/Pattern Panel, as of early September 2023. As a de novo mutation, SW8 is likely present only in Southern Phantom and some of his offspring. Dr. W. DiGrasse/Rustic Ridge Farm, owner of Southern Phantom, noted he was gelded in January 2023.