UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Naked Foal Syndrome in Akhal Teke


The molecular basis of the hairlessness or Naked Foal Syndrome (NFS) in Akhal-Teke breed has been identified by researchers in Switzerland. NFS has been known in the breed since 1938. Primary signs of the defect are lack of body, mane and tail hair, abnormal teeth development, digestive disorders, persistent diarrhea and laminitis-like problems. NFS is always fatal with most foals dying within weeks of birth, although some have survived to two years of age. NFS is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait which means that 2 copies of the mutation are needed to produce the disease. Carriers of NFS (1 copy of the mutation) are normal but can produce affected foals if bred to another carrier.

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory offers a test for NFS in Akhal-Tekes. The test helps breeders and owners to identify carriers of NFS and to select mating pairs accordingly to avoid producing affected foals. Mating between two carriers have a 25% chance of producing NFS foals. Given the small population size of the breed, and to avoid further reductions of the gene pool, mating between carriers and normal horses are acceptable as they will not result in NFS foals.

Allow 6 -10 business days for results.

Results are reported as:

N/N No copies of the NFS mutation; animal is normal.
N/NFS 1 copy of the NFS mutation; animal is normal but is a carrier.
NFS/NFS 2 copies of the NFS mutation; horse is affected.


Bauer A, Hiemesch T, Jagannathan V, Neuditschko M, Bachmann I, Rieder S, Mikko S, Penedo MC, Tarasova N, Vitková M, Sirtori N, Roccabianca P, Leeb T, Welle MM. (2017). A Nonsense Variant in the ST14 Gene in Akhal-Teke Horses with Naked Foal Syndrome. G3 (Bethesda). 7(4):1315-1321. doi: 10.1534/g3.117.039511. PMID: 28235824

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL