A 2009 patent application from Stephen P. Harrison attempts to gain protection for an invention that “relates to products and processes for determining or predicting sporting performance, ability or aptitude of horses and other performance animals through the study of nucleotide sequence variants, genetic types or profiles, in particular the study of mitochondrial sequence variants.”

That is so vague and broad an application claim that I wonder whether the Jockey Club’s DNA sequencing process would fall under the “patent” approach.

Even several thousand words later, the application is not notably clearer in describing what would be patented and what it might mean. Perhaps that is intentional.

Certainly, Harrison is not the only one working in mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA). It is one of the more widely explored fields in general science and has several hard-working and well-known researchers related to horse breeding and racing, including Emmeline Hill.

She and other researchers have conducted studies of MtDNA, particularly in reference to evaluating the identity of female strains of Thoroughbreds through many generations. From the information published on this topic so far, the majority of the work has been painstaking, tedious, moderately enlightening … and has revealed bunk about the racing capacity or class of the horses involved.

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