Mustangs of America

Team: 36

School: Melrose Middle

Area of Science: Genetics & Ecology

Interim: Team Number: 036
School Name: Melrose Municipal School
Area of Science: Genetics & Ecology
Project Title: Mustangs of America
Problem Definition:
One of the most pressing issues with horses in the wild as well as horses in captivity is diseases and deformations. A disease that has the most effect is Equine Influenza, basically the flu for horses, and yes, it can kill. But it is preventable with injections. If you introduce the disease beforehand, you can prevent future deaths from the disease. Equine Influenza has the highest death rate, as well as the most horses infected per year, making a deadly duo.
Deformations also plague horse communities worldwide. It can pass down through generations and cause major problems for the animal. Deformations can be lethal if the terrain is rough and unsteady. An example of a genetic deformation is Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM type 1). This deformation alters its muscles. Another example of a mutation in horses is Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA). This deformation is a mutation that forms a liquid under the horse’s skin.
Problem solution:
A solution to this less known issue that is plausible by some such as us, is creating this model to help save all the horses we can. In our model, we hope to add as many variables and components inside that are needed, and more. Adding these variables and components will help make our model more realistic. The more variables we have, the more realistic our model will be. A realistic model will help our users to more apply it to their daily life with their horse/horses. This is good because if the model were to be too basic, the user will not be able to relate as easy, and therefore not being able to use the model as intended. Once they have a realistic model to represent their very own pasture with their horses, they can better control their pasture.
Another thing we are currently working into the algorithm is a pinpoint pasture. This pinpoint pasture will help take the user’s coordinates and create a pasture alike theirs. With their pasture up on the screen, preventing horse injury, theft, and wandering will become much simpler. Preparing for storms and other weather variables will become possible. Along with this, you may find how many horses exactly you may put on you pasture without it becoming over or under crowded. A user may put in a coordinate for northern America, and their pasture will become like the ones around it, with woodland and thick grasses. A user plugging south American coordinates into the generator will see their model turn browner with fewer grasses and more dirt, dust, and shrubs.
Progress to Date:
So far, we have collected data on the diseases and defects that are most common in horses and the ones that cause the most fatalities. The two that we picked for our model is the genetic deformation known as Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM type 1), and a common mutation in horses that’s called Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA). We have not yet put them into our model, but that will be one of the first steps that we take to improving our model. We are still in the process of gathering more information as there is a very kind, but currently unnamed man who will be one of our top references to what it’s like on a reservation with wild mustangs as he has been to various ones and has some feedback for us to help find more details on the infections and mutations that occur there. Our model has already gotten the basics of what we want as it’s the same model from last year, making this our second year on dealing with this issue and working on this model.
Expected Results:
If all goes by plan, we will be able to create a model that would help determine and predict a near number of, specifically, horses with various differing defective genetics, mutations and diseases. The plaguing issues for the horse that we could include would be any that affect our equine friends the most and hold the achievement of most caused fatalities. If we include these variables, both new and old horse owners will be able to predict when their horse might be carrying a specific deformation, mutation, or disease. Another thing that horse owners could accomplish or gain from this model would be the ability to treat their horses in the event that they do acquire these problems. We may be able to include the solutions to the diseases. The people using our model could also use it to prevent their horses from adopting their parent’s defective genetics on the occasion that they use their deformed horses for mating. Though using deformed horses as breeders would not be ideal.
Team Members:
Lily Macfarlane & Lilly Gallagher

Sponsoring Teacher:
Alan Daugherty

Team Members:

  Lily Macfarlane
  Lilly Gallagher
  Kate Barnhorn

Sponsoring Teacher: Alan Daugherty

Mail the entire Team