Genetic Research: Dr. Loren Skow, Texas A&M University
The rationale for this study is that the composition of bone in antler material is somewhat different from that of long bones; consequently there are likely to be genes expressed in antler that will not be expressed in other bones and therefore not identified in human and mouse genome analysis. The goal is to identify the mRNA's from genes associated with rapid antler growth, those with maintenance (main beam), and those that cause an inhibition of growth (apoptosis). The analysis of gene expression in rapidly growing (fork line) and slow growing (spike line) deer may provide a clue as to the identity of the genes that are responsible from these different phenotypes. This study may also lead to the discovery of growth promoting substances with application to bone healing in humans and animals.