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Genetic conditions

Some genetic conditions have been proven to be detrimental to economic production and need to be managed carefully through DNA testing and the use of tools such as GeneProb to estimate carrier status. The gene probability analysis includes all known DNA information for animals recorded on the relevant breed society database. Genetic condition status results are based on DNA samples provided by breeders to their relevant breed society*. Genetic condition status results are only displayed for animals that have been DNA tested for a particular genetic condition or in circumstances where sufficient DNA testing has been conducted on animals within the pedigree to make some assertions as to genetic condition status. In cases where the genetic condition status of an animal is unknown, no genetic condition status will be displayed for the animal.

Code explanation
  • _ _ F

    Free

    Indicates that the sample submitted for this animal has been tested and found to be free of the causative mutation responsible for the indicated genetic condition. This animal is homozygous free, meaning that it has two copies of the normal variant (or allele) of the gene.

  • _ _FU

    Free Untested

    Indicates that, this animal has not been tested for the causative mutation but that both the recorded sire and dam have either been tested and found to be free, or have a status of _ _FU and are expected to be free of the causative mutation responsible for the genetic condition. DeSireBull gives no guarantee as to the animal's genetic condition status.

  • _ _ %

    Chance of carrier

    Indicates that, based on pedigree information supplied by the breeder of the animal, the animal has a chance to be a carrier of the mutation responsible for the genetic condition but has not been tested. The higher the indicated percentage, the larger the chance the animal may be a carrier. To verify the status of this animal, DeSireBull recommends that testing be undertaken prior to using this animal for breeding purposes.

  • _ _ A

    Affected

    Indicates that the sample submitted for this animal has been tested and found to possess two copies of the mutant variant of the gene. This animal is homozygous for the mutation responsible for the genetic condition and may be affected by the genetic condition. Even if the animal appears normal it will pass the mutation to 100% of its progeny.

  • _ _ C

    Carrier

    Indicates that the sample submitted for this animal has been tested and found to be a carrier of the causative mutation responsible for the indicated genetic condition. This animal is heterozygous for the mutation, meaning that it has one mutant allele and one normal allele. This animal could pass the mutation to approximately half of its progeny.

*DeSireBull makes no statements, representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of any information relating to the status of a particular animal: and disclaims all responsibility for information and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages, and costs you may incur as a result of information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

What happens when carriers are mated to other animals?

A carrier will, on average, pass the undesirable gene form to a random half (50 %) of their progeny.
When a carrier bull and carrier cow are mated:

  • There is a 25% chance that the progeny produced will have two normal genes and so will never pass on the undesirable gene.
  • There is a 50% chance that the mating will produce a carrier.
  • There is a 25% chance that the progeny will inherit two copies of the undesirable gene and hence be affected by the genetic condition.

When a carrier animal is mated to an animal tested free of the genetic condition:

  • All progeny will appear normal and will be unaffected by the condition.
  • There is a 50% chance that the mating will produce a carrier.
  • There is a 50% chance that the progeny produced will have two normal genes and so will never pass on the undesirable gene.

Note that an animal that is tested free by DNA test of the genetic condition will not pass the genetic condition to its descendants, even if it has carriers in its own ancestry. Therefore, DNA-tested free animals can be used in your breeding program with confidence that they are not transmitting the unfavourable gene to subsequent generations.

How should genetic conditions be managed?

An informative presentation on the management of genetic conditions was delivered as part of the “Know Your Genes” webinar course conducted by Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS). This presentation can be viewed on the SBTS website.

Wagyu genetic conditions

Spherocystosis (B3)

This is a disorder of the surface membrane of the erythrocyte (red blood cells). The protein from the B3 gene makes up the basic structure of the erythrocyte. Cattle that are homozygous (have two copies of the recessive allele) have pernicious anaemia (bleeding caused by the abnormal red blood cells). Death normally occurs within the first 7 days after birth. Some cases live to adulthood but there is a severe retardation in growth.

Chediak Higashi Syndrome (CHS)

CHS is a macrophage disorder (a white blood cell that has an important role in the immune response to disease). If cattle have a malfunctioning immune system, this makes them unable to resist the bacterial challenge. Blood is slow to coagulate so often the first indicator is unusual umbilical cord haemorrhage at parturition (calving). Cattle with this syndrome often have an unusually pale coat colour.

Claudin 16 Deficiency (CL16)

CL16 (also known as RTD or Renal tubular dysplasia) is a gene disorder on chromosome 1 and causes kidney failure (chronic interstitial nephritis often with zonal fibrosis or excess of fibrous connective tissue). This disorder results in terminal kidney failure and the onset can occur anytime from late adolescence. Cattle are unlikely to live more than 6 years.

Factor XI deficiency (F11)

F11 is a plasma protein that participates in the formation of blood clots. Factor XI deficiency is an autosomal disorder that is associated with mild bleeding in Wagyu. Affected animals show prolonged bleeding time and abnormal plasma coagulation after trauma or surgical procedures such as castration or dehorning. It is also possible that Carrier x Carrier matings have increased difficulty producing viable fertilised embryos or full‐term pregnancies and are may be repeated (return to cycle)breeders. Note: this is generally a non-lethal recessive condition with affected animals being able to live and breed as normal.

There are other recessive genetic conditions known to exist in Wagyu cattle (e.g. F13) however they have not been identified in the Australian Wagyu population.

Hereford genetic conditions

Hypotrichosis (HY)

Partial to almost complete lack of hair. Affected calves are often born with very short, fine, kinky hair that may fall out leaving bare spots or areas particularly susceptible to rubbing. The condition may vary in expression as the animal matures and is usually less noticeable in older animals. The coat hair colour will sometimes appear "frosted" or "silverish." The tail switch may also be underdeveloped. Hypotrichosis is caused by a recessive allele which means that affected calves will only occur when two carrier animals are mated together. Hypotrichosis has been reported in the Hereford breed for many decades and is non-lethal.

Dilutor (DL)

This is a coat colour abnormality that can be found when a Hereford bull that is a carrier of the dilutor gene is mated to a black cow. A certain number of the resulting calves are born with grey, smokey or chocolate coats (approx. 50%). Diluter is not an abnormality that causes any issues with calf performance. Dilutor is caused by a dominant allele, which means calves that are expected to have a black coat colour are born with a smoke colour coat because the dilutor allele is dominant to the black allele.

Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE)

Age of onset of first seizure can be variable, ranging from birth to several months of age. Occurrence and persistence of seizures may be influenced by environmental stress factors such as temperature extremes or increased physical activity. Upon initial onset of seizure episodes, individuals will typically lie on their side with all limbs extended in a rigid state. Manual flexing of the limbs is possible, but return to the extended position occurs after release. Seizure episodes may last from several minutes to more than an hour. Idiopathic epilepsy can lead to death and affected animals have not been known to reproduce. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by a recessive allele which means that affected calves will only occur when two carrier animals are mated together.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)

This is a condition which has been identified in both horned and polled Hereford animals. Affected calves display severe neurological signs within the first week of life. Typically, affected calves are dull and will become recumbent by 2 to 4 days of age. Affected calves will enter a state of terminal opisthotonus, where severe muscle spasms will cause their head, neck and spinal column to present in an “arching” position. Maple syrup urine disease is fatal, with affected animals tending to die as young calves before they are old enough to reproduce. Maple syrup urine disease is caused by a recessive allele which means that affected calves will only occur when two carrier animals are mated together.

Breed indexes

Wagyu indexes

Self-replacing Breeding (SBI)

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred self-replacing herd. Heifers are retained for breeding and steers and surplus females are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. Steers are assumed to be slaughtered at 32 months after 550 days of feedlot finishing targeting 435kg carcases. Heifers are retained for breeding and therefore maternal traits are of importance. Steers and surplus females that exhibit marbling will attract a significant premium for the carcase.

Wagyu Fullblood Terminal (FTI)

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred self-replacing herd in which all progeny are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. Steers are assumed to be slaughtered at 32 months after 550 days on feedlot finishing targeting 435kg carcases. Heifers are slaughtered at 29 months after 450 days of feedlot finishing targeting 385kg carcases. No heifers are retained for breeding and therefore maternal traits are not of importance in this $Index. There is a significant premium for carcases that exhibit superior marbling.

Wagyu F1 terminal (F1 Index)

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an F1 production system using Wagyu bulls and non-Wagyu emales where all progeny are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. Steers and heifers are assumed to be slaughtered at 28 months after 37 days of feedlot finishing targeting carcase weights of 420kg and 387kg respectively. No heifers are retained for breeding and therefore maternal traits are not of importance in this $Index. There is a significant premium for carcases that exhibit superior marbling.

Hereford indexes

Supermarket Index

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial self-replacing herd targeting the domestic supermarket trade. Steers are either finished on grass or grain (e.g. 50 – 70 days) with steers slaughtered at 500 kg live weight (270 kg HSCW and 12 mm P8 fat depth) at 17 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. Emphasis has been placed on eating quality and tenderness to favour animals that are suited to MSA requirements.

Grass Fed Steer Index

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial self-replacing herd targeting pasture finished steers. Steers are slaughtered at 600 kg live weight (330 kg HSCW and 8 mm P8 fat depth) at 23 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. Emphasis has been placed on eating quality and tenderness to favour animals that are suited to MSA requirements. This index is suitable for use by both straight bred Hereford herds and in crossbreeding programs where Hereford bulls are being used over a Bos indicus based cow herd.

Grain Fed Steer Index

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial self-replacing herd targeting pasture grown steers with a 125 day feedlot finishing period for the grain fed high quality, highly marbled markets. Steers are slaughtered at 600 kg live weight (330 kg HSCW and 20 mm P8 fat depth) at 20 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. There is a significant premium if steers reach a marble score of 2 or greater. This index is suitable for use by both straight bred Hereford herds and in black baldy crossbreeding programs where Hereford bulls are being used over an Angus based cow herd.

EU Index

Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial self-replacing herd targeting the EU market. Steers are either finished on grass or grain (e.g. 125 days) with steers slaughtered at 600 kg live weight (330 kg HSCW and 20 mm P8 fat depth) at 20 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. Emphasis has been placed on eating quality and tenderness to favour animals that are suited to MSA requirements.

Structural Assessment

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