• Hestar | Icelandic Horses

Registration of more than 400 thousand horses


Matís is closely involved with many agriculture breeding projects, helping farmers to improve their stocks; Matís performs the genetic analysis of the Icelandic horse for  the WorldFengur database. WorldFengur is the official FEIF register of the Icelandic horse breed.

The database was established in year 2000, and consists of unique DNA identification of each horse, pedigree information, and information on breeders, owners, offspring's records, photos, results on breeding evaluations on the Icelandic stock and results from assessments. Currently there are more than 400,000 horses registered in WorldFengur from across Europe and the USA. The backbone of the database is the unique identification number (FEIF ID-number) of each horse, paired with its genotype, this allows a record and pedigree for all Icelandic horses, allowing their sale, entrance into shows, and for better breeding programs.

In addition Matís is the only Icelandic provider of the test for the DMRT3 mutation. This mutation indicates whether or not a horse has the ability to perform both pace and tölt (Icelandic) which is a form of slow trot. Most Icelandic horses with two copies of the A variant (AA) can perform both gaits, while horses with one copy (CA) can only perform tölt. This means that we can now genetically test a horse's potential ability to perform these gaits. This testing can be done when the horse is very young (i.e. before training is started). It can also be carried out on the stallion and broodmare to determine if they are a good combination to breed.

Sheep farmers have also profit from Matís researches, as Matís offers testing for the ‘þokugen' gene, which increases fertility in ewes, allowing farmers to increase the productivity of their flocks. Matís is as well enabling a practical test for sheep breeders to detect Scrapie. Scrapie is a fatal degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system in sheep and can be passed from sheep to sheep. Positive diagnosis of Scrapie can result in a flock being quarantined and animals destroyed. Fortunately, sheep can have genetic resistance to Scrapie that can be detected with a simple and inexpensive DNA test. By offering DNA testing to farmers, breeders can select for, and breed resistant animals. Buyers can also be assured that they are buying resistant sheep.

For additional information, please contact Anna K. Daníelsdóttir, director at Matís.