Angus Cattle Carry a Dangerous Recessive Gene

There are serious problems involved in breeding top class cattle for the market. Like in breeding budgerigars recessive genes coming together can cause some young to be victims of early death.

In creating the "perfect" animal, weaknesses have been seen in Angus cattle. The disease is call Development Duplication (DD). Its general name is polymelia. Embryos are dying and some are born with extra limbs.

The disease is common in all cattle, but selective breeding has increase its prominence in Angus cattle. Some affected animals have had operations to remove extra limbs. This is complicating the issue particularly if they are used for breeding.

Tests are available to identify the recessive gene causing the problem. It occurs at a rate of 3 per cent in the Angus breed. Pairing a sire with the recessive to a dam without it produces a normal calf. The recessive gene is passed on, however, not eliminated. It is believed that the presence of the gene has improved growth and fertility. This is a dangerous path to follow. Keeping something deleterious for perceived market benefits.
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