Genetic Defects in Beef Cattle

Author: Purduebeefteam

Genetic Defects in Beef Cattle Dr. Terry Stewart, PhD. Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University Hi, I’m Terry Stewart with the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University. Here we see several examples of dwarfism in cattle. The two pictures on the left are called bulldog dwarfs. One happens to be in an Angus background, the other one is in a Hereford.

The one picture on the right is called a quadroplastic dwarf, it is a shortening of all 4 limbs. Dwarfism occurs in all breeds of beef cattle. There are also several other types, you may have heard of snorter dwarfs or needle nose dwarfs.

Dwarfisms in general are controlled by a single locus. It is usually a recessive trait, although there is evidence that there may be some pleiotrophy, involving multiple loci. To date, there really aren’t any genetic testing systems for dwarfism. Some breed associations have some further information so if you’re having questions about dwarfism in your breed, I would encourage you to contact your breed association.

Here are a few examples of foot conditions that are associated with genetic defects. On the left is a condition called syndactyly, sometimes goes by the name of mule foot. You’ll see a normal cloven hoof on the bottom of the picture and up on the top of the picture is an example of the syndactyly condition. It is an unsound condition and the animal usually goes lame about the time that it reaches mature size.

Genetic Defects in Beef Cattle

On the right hand side is a different foot condition called polydactyly, or many toes, it is controlled by a different series of genetics. The syndactyly is a single locus trait with syndactyly being the recessive condition. Polydactyly, we think is controlled by several different loci. We don’t have the specific genetic model of polydactyly fully understood. If you suspect that you have syndactyly in your herd, there is a genetic test available for it, contact your breed association, and they can help you.

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Genetic Defects in Beef Cattle

Genetic Defects in Beef Cattle Dr. Terry Stewart, PhD. Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University Hi, I’m Terry Stewart with the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University.…

By: Purduebeefteam