The objective of this study was to investigate whether inbreeding depression in milk production or fertility performance has been partially purged due to selection within the Irish Holstein-Friesian population. Classical, ancestral (i.e., the inbreeding of an individual's ancestors according to two different formulae) and new inbreeding coefficients (i.e., part of the classical inbreeding coefficient that is not accounted for by ancestral inbreeding) were computed for all animals. The effect of each coefficient on 305-day milk, fat and protein yield as well as calving interval, age at first calving and survival to second lactation was investigated. Ancestral inbreeding accounting for all common ancestors in the pedigree had a positive effect on 305-day milk and protein yield, increasing yields by 4.85 kg and 0.12 kg, respectively. However, ancestral inbreeding accounting only for those common ancestors, which contribute to the classical inbreeding coefficient had a negative effect on all milk production traits decreasing 305-day milk, fat and protein yields by -8.85 kg, -0.53 kg and -0.33 kg, respectively. Classical, ancestral and new inbreeding generally had a detrimental effect on fertility and survival traits. From this study, it appears that Irish Holstein-Friesians have purged some of their genetic load for milk production through many years of selection based on production alone, while fertility, which has been less intensely selected for in the population demonstrates no evidence of purging.
To investigate the congenital complex vertebral malformation syndrome (CVM) in Holstein calves, two breeding studies were performed including 262 and 363 cows, respectively. Cows were selected from the Danish Cattle Database based on pedigree and insemination records. Selected cows were progeny of sires with an established heterozygous CVM genotype and pregnant after insemination with semen from another sire with heterozygous CVM genotype. Following calving the breeders should state, if the calf was normal and was requested to submit dead calves for necropsy. In both studies, significantly fewer CVM affected calves than expected were obtained; a finding probably reflecting extensive intrauterine mortality in CVM affected foetuses. The findings illustrate increased intrauterine mortality as a major potential bias in observational studies of inherited disorders.
Complex vertebral malformation; CVM; abortion; congenital; Holstein; cattle.
Posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) is a rare autosomal dominant genetically heterogeneous disorder. Nineteen Czech PPCD pedigrees with 113 affected family members were identified, and 17 of these kindreds were genotyped for markers on chromosome 20p12.1- 20q12. Comparison of haplotypes in 81 affected members, 20 unaffected first degree relatives and 13 spouses, as well as 55 unrelated controls, supported the hypothesis of a shared ancestor in 12 families originating from one geographic location. In 38 affected individuals from nine of these pedigrees, a common haplotype was observed between D20S48 and D20S107 spanning approximately 23 Mb, demonstrating segregation of disease with the PPCD1 locus. This haplotype was not detected in 110 ethnically matched control chromosomes. Within the common founder haplotype, a core mini-haplotype was detected for D20S605, D20S182 and M189K2 in all 67 affected members from families 1–12, however alleles representing the core mini-haplotype were also detected in population matched controls. The most likely location of the responsible gene within the disease interval, and estimated mutational age, were inferred by linkage disequilibrium mapping (DMLE+2.3). The appearance of a disease-causing mutation was dated between 64–133 generations. The inferred ancestral locus carrying a PPCD1 disease-causing variant within the disease interval spans 60 Kb on 20p11.23, which contains a single known protein coding gene, ZNF133. However, direct sequence analysis of coding and untranslated exons did not reveal a potential pathogenic mutation. Microdeletion or duplication was also excluded by comparative genomic hybridization using a dense chromosome 20 specific array. Geographical origin, haplotype and statistical analysis suggest that in 14 unrelated families an as yet undiscovered mutation on 20p11.23 was inherited from a common ancestor. Prevalence of PPCD in the Czech Republic appears to be the highest worldwide and our data suggests that at least one other novel locus for PPCD also exists.
There are several measures available to describe the genetic variability of populations. The average inbreeding coefficient of a population based on pedigree information is a frequently chosen option. Due to the developments in molecular genetics it is also possible to calculate inbreeding coefficients based on genetic marker information. A simulation study was carried out involving ten sires and 50 dams. The animals were mated over a period of 20 discrete generations. The population size was kept constant. Different situations with regard to the level of polymorphism and initial allele frequencies and mating scheme (random mating, avoidance of full sib mating, avoidance of full sib and half sib mating) were considered. Pedigree inbreeding coefficients of the last generation using full pedigree or 10, 5 and 2 generations of the pedigree were calculated. Marker inbreeding coefficients based on different sets of microsatellite loci were also investigated. Under random mating, pedigree-inbreeding coefficients are clearly more closely related to true autozygosity (i.e., the actual proportion of loci with alleles identical by descent) than marker-inbreeding coefficients. If mating is not random, the demands on the quality and quantity of pedigree records increase. Greater attention must be paid to the correct parentage of the animals.
autozygosity; inbreeding; microsatellite; quality of pedigree
The fitness consequences of inbreeding and outbreeding are poorly understood in natural populations. We explore two microsatellite-based variables, individual heterozygosity (likely to correlate with recent inbreeding) and a new individual-specific internal distance measure, mean d2 (focusing on events deeper in the pedigree), in relation to two measures of fitness expressed early in life, birth weight and neonatal survival, in 670 red deer calves (Cervus elaphus) born on the Isle of Rum between 1982 and 1996. For comparison, we also analyse inbreeding coefficients derived from pedigrees in which paternity was inferred by molecular methods. Only 14 out of 231 calves (6.1%) had non-zero inbreeding coefficients, and neither inbreeding coefficient nor individual heterozygosity was consistently related to birth weight or neonatal survival. However, mean d2 was consistently related to both fitness measures. Low mean d2 was associated with low birth weight, especially following cold Aprils, in which foetal growth is reduced. Low mean d2 was also associated with low neonatal survival, but this effect was probably mediated by birth weight because fitting birth weight to the neonatal survival model displaced mean d2 as an explanatory variable. We conclude that in the deer population fitness measures expressed early in life do not show evidence of inbreeding depression, but they do show evidence of heterosis, possibly as a result of population mixing. We also demonstrate the practical problems of estimating inbreeding via pedigrees compared with a direct marker-based estimate of individual heterozygosity. We suggest that, together, individual heterozygosity and mean d2, estimated using microsatellites, are useful tools for exploring inbreeding and outbreeding in natural population.
How many generations ago did the common ancestor of all present-day individuals live, and how does inbreeding affect this estimate? The number of ancestors within family trees determines the timing of the most recent common ancestor of humanity. However, mating is often non-random and inbreeding is ubiquitous in natural populations. Rates of pedigree growth are found for multiple types of inbreeding. This data is then combined with models of global population structure to estimate biparental coalescence times. When pedigrees for regular systems of mating are constructed, the growth rates of inbred populations contain Fibonacci n-step constants. The timing of the most recent common ancestor depends on global population structure, the mean rate of pedigree growth, mean fitness, and current population size. Inbreeding reduces the number of ancestors in a pedigree, pushing back global common ancestry times. These results are consistent with the remarkable findings of previous studies: all humanity shares common ancestry in the recent past.
biparental coalescence; genealogy; inbreeding; MRCA; theory
We have developed a simulation-based approach to the analysis of shared homozygous chromosomal segments and have applied it to data on allele sharing among alcoholics in a single Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism pedigree. Our assessment of sharing involved the use of a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker map provided by Affymetrix.
All 11 affected individuals in the selected pedigree shared 2 copies of an allele at 4 adjacent SNPs in a region on chromosome 5. Via simulation, we determined that the probability that such sharing is caused by mere chance is less than 0.0000001. After correcting for undocumented inbreeding, this probability rose to 0.0016. The probability that the shared segment emanates from a single ancestor and is unrelated to the affection status is less than 0.0000001 in the corrected pedigree. Haplotype association analysis and a search for a protective locus using unaffected individuals yielded no significant results.
Homozygosity mapping results on chromosome 5 provide suggestive evidence of the region's role as one that may harbor a genetic determinant of alcoholism. Furthermore, the probabilities of chance homozygous allele sharing for the original and for the inbreeding-corrected pedigree provide insight into the impact that inbreeding can have on such calculations.
The bovine brachyspina syndrome is a recently reported malformation in the Holstein breed. The aetiology of this syndrome is unknown, but its occurrence following breeding between genetically related and phenotypically normal cattle may indicate that it is an autosomal recessively inherited disorder. Three cases are reported and compared to the originally reported case.
Two Danish cases and a Dutch case are described. The calves were delivered following a slightly prolonged gestation period. Gross lesions consisted of growth retardation, significant shortening of the entire spine and long and slender limbs. Additionally, inferior brachygnatism and defects of several internal organs were recorded. The cases were diagnosed as having the brachyspina syndrome based on the presence of essential lesions. The parents of each case were genetically related and linked to the first reported case by a common ancestor.
The findings support the hypothesis that the brachyspina syndrome in Holstein cattle is inherited autosomal recessively and illustrate some of the assumed phenotypical variation of this syndrome. The brachyspina syndrome may be an emerging disease in the Holstein breed.
The focus in dairy cattle breeding is gradually shifting from production to functional traits and genetic parameters of calving traits are estimated more frequently. However, across countries, various statistical models are used to estimate these parameters. This study evaluates different models for calving ease and stillbirth in United Kingdom Holstein-Friesian cattle.
Data from first and later parity records were used. Genetic parameters for calving ease, stillbirth and gestation length were estimated using the restricted maximum likelihood method, considering different models i.e. sire (−maternal grandsire), animal, univariate and bivariate models. Gestation length was fitted as a correlated indicator trait and, for all three traits, genetic correlations between first and later parities were estimated. Potential bias in estimates was avoided by acknowledging a possible environmental direct-maternal covariance. The total heritable variance was estimated for each trait to discuss its theoretical importance and practical value. Prediction error variances and accuracies were calculated to compare the models.
Results and discussion
On average, direct and maternal heritabilities for calving traits were low, except for direct gestation length. Calving ease in first parity had a significant and negative direct-maternal genetic correlation. Gestation length was maternally correlated to stillbirth in first parity and directly correlated to calving ease in later parities. Multi-trait models had a slightly greater predictive ability than univariate models, especially for the lowly heritable traits. The computation time needed for sire (−maternal grandsire) models was much smaller than for animal models with only small differences in accuracy. The sire (−maternal grandsire) model was robust when additional genetic components were estimated, while the equivalent animal model had difficulties reaching convergence.
For the evaluation of calving traits, multi-trait models show a slight advantage over univariate models. Extended sire models (−maternal grandsire) are more practical and robust than animal models. Estimated genetic parameters for calving traits of UK Holstein cattle are consistent with literature. Calculating an aggregate estimated breeding value including direct and maternal values should encourage breeders to consider both direct and maternal effects in selection decisions.
Records from up to 19054 registered cows and 10297 calves in 155 herds of the Alentejana cattle breed were used to study the effects of individual (Fi) and maternal (Fm) inbreeding on reproductive, growth and carcass traits, as well as assessing the importance of non-linear associations between inbreeding and performance, and evaluating the differences among sire-families in the effect of Fi and Fm on calf weight at 7 months of age (W7M). Overall, regression coefficients of performance traits on inbreeding were small, indicating a minor but still detrimental effect of both Fi and Fm on most traits. The traits with the highest percentage impact of Fi were total number of calvings through life and calf weight at 3 months of age (W3M), followed by longevity and number of calves produced up to 7 years, while the highest effect of Fm was on W3M. Inbreeding depression on feed efficiency and carcass traits was extremely small and not significant. No evidence was found of a non-linear association between inbreeding and performance for the traits analyzed. Large differences were detected among sire-families in inbreeding depression on W7M, for both Fi and Fm, encouraging the possibility of incorporating sire effects on inbreeding depression into selection decisions.
Alentejana; cattle; inbreeding depression; individual inbreeding; maternal inbreeding
This study was initiated due to the observation of increasing and rather high levels of stillbirths, especially in first-calving Swedish Holstein cows (10.3%, 2002). Seventy-six Swedish Holstein calves born to heifers at 41 different farms were post mortem examined in order to investigate possible reasons for stillbirth and at what time in relation to full-term gestation they had occurred. The definition of a stillborn calf was dead at birth or within 24 h after birth after at least 260 days of gestation. Eight calves were considered as having died already in uterus. Slightly less than half of the examined calves (46.1%) were classified as having died due to a difficult calving. Four calves (5.3%) had different kinds of malformations (heart defects, enlarged thymus, urine bladder defect). Approximately one third of the calves (31.6%) were clinically normal at full-term with no signs of malformation and born with no indication of difficulties at parturition or any other reason that could explain the stillbirth. The numbers of male and female calves were rather equally distributed within the groups. A wide variation in post mortem weights was seen in all groups, although a number of the calves in the group of clinically normal calves with unexplained reason of death were rather small and, compared with e.g. those calves categorised as having died due to a difficult calving, their average birth weight was 6 kg lower (39.9 ± 1.7 kg vs. 45.9 ± 1.5 kg, p ≤ 0.01). It was concluded that the cause of stillbirth with a non-infectious aetiology is likely to be multifactorial and difficult calving may explain only about half of the stillbirths. As much as one third of the calves seemed clinically normal with no obvious reason for death. This is a target group of calves that warrants a more thorough investigation in further studies.
Autopsy; congenital defects; dairy calves
A pedigree is a diagram of family relationships, and it is often used to determine the mode of inheritance (dominant, recessive, etc.) of genetic diseases. Along with rapidly growing knowledge of genetics and accumulation of genealogy information, pedigree data is becoming increasingly important. In large pedigree graphs, path-based methods for efficiently computing genealogical measurements, such as inbreeding and kinship coefficients of individuals, depend on efficient identification and processing of paths. In this paper, we propose a new compact path encoding scheme on large pedigrees, accompanied by an efficient algorithm for identifying paths. We demonstrate the utilization of our proposed method by applying it to the inbreeding coefficient computation. We present time and space complexity analysis, and also manifest the efficiency of our method for evaluating inbreeding coefficients as compared to previous methods by experimental results using pedigree graphs with real and synthetic data. Both theoretical and experimental results demonstrate that our method is more scalable and efficient than previous methods in terms of time and space requirements.
Pedigree data structures have a number of applications in genetics, including the estimation of allelic or haplotype probabilities in humans and agricultural species, and the estimation of breeding values in agricultural species. Sequential algorithms for general purpose CPU-based computers are commonly used, but are inadequate for some tasks on large data sets. We show that pedigree data can be directly represented on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), allowing highly efficient massively parallel simulation of the flow of genes. Operating on the whole pedigree in parallel, the transmission of genes can occur for all individuals in a single clock cycle. By using FPGA, the algorithms to estimate inbreeding coefficients and allelic probabilities are shown to operate hundreds to thousands of times faster than the corresponding sequentially based algorithms. Where problems can be largely represented in an integer form, FPGA provide an efficient platform for computations on pedigree data.
FPGA; parallel computations; pedigree data
The role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium–induced ruminant and human enteritis and diarrhea has yet to be characterized with in vivo models. To address this question, the in vivo bovine ligated ileal loop model of nontyphoidal salmonellosis was used in calves with the naturally occurring bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (BLAD) mutation whose neutrophils are unable to extravasate and infiltrate the extravascular matrix. Data obtained from 4 BLAD Holstein calves homozygous for BLAD (CD18−), 1 to 5 weeks of age, were compared to 4 controls, age-matched Holstein calves negative for BLAD (CD18+). Morphologic studies revealed that infection of CD18− calves with S Typhimurium resulted in no significant tissue infiltration by neutrophils, less tissue damage, reduced luminal fluid accumulation, and increased bacterial invasion, when compared to CD18+ calves. Ultrastructurally, lesions in enterocytes induced by S Typhimurium infection in CD18− calves—including attachment and disruption of the brush border, apical membrane ruffling formation, and cellular degeneration—were similar to the ones reported in the literature for CD18− calves. Study of cytokine gene expression by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed that early stages of acute infection (4–8 hours postinfection) were associated with increased interleukin 8 gene expression in the absence of tissue influx of neutrophils in CD18− calves, whereas later stages of infection (12 hours postinfection) were associated with increased expression of growth-related oncogene α in the presence of neutrophil influx in CD18+ calves. In contrast, the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1β and tumor necrosis factor α were poorly correlated with the presence or absence of tissue neutrophils.
bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency; cattle; chemokine; intestine; quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; Salmonella enterica Typhimurium; scanning electron microscopy; transmission electron microscopy
A previous review of inbreeding in natural populations suggested that close inbreeding (inbreeding coefficient f = 0.25) is generally rare in wild birds and mammals. However, the review did not assess rates of moderate inbreeding (f = 0.125), which may make a rather larger contribution to overall inbreeding in a population. Furthermore, previous studies may have underestimated the prevalence of inbreeding in wild populations with incomplete pedigrees. By categorizing inbreeding events by the relationship of the parental pair, we suggest a simple method for estimating rates of close and moderate inbreeding from incomplete pedigree data. We applied this method to three wild populations of ruminants: red deer on Rum, Scotland, Soay sheep on Hirta, Scotland and reintroduced Arabian oryx on the Jiddat-al-Harasis, Oman. Although paternal half-sib pairs were the most common category of inbreeding in all three populations, there was considerable variation among populations in the frequencies of the various categories of inbreeding. This variation may be largely explained by differences in population size and dynamics, in maternal and paternal sibship size and in the overlap of reproductive lifespan of consecutive generations. Close and moderate inbreeding appear to be a routine part of breeding behaviour in these ruminant populations.
Inbreeding depression, which refers to reduced fitness among offspring of related parents, has traditionally been studied using pedigrees. In practice, pedigree information is difficult to obtain, potentially unreliable, and rarely assessed for inbreeding arising from common ancestors who lived more than a few generations ago. Recently, there has been excitement about using SNP data to estimate inbreeding (F) arising from distant common ancestors in apparently “outbred” populations. Statistical power to detect inbreeding depression using SNP data depends on the actual variation in inbreeding in a population, the accuracy of detecting that with marker data, the effect size, and the sample size. No one has yet investigated what variation in F is expected in SNP data as a function of population size, and it is unclear which estimate of F is optimal for detecting inbreeding depression. In the present study, we use theory, simulated genetic data, and real genetic data to find the optimal estimate of F, to quantify the likely variation in F in populations of various sizes, and to estimate the power to detect inbreeding depression. We find that F estimated from runs of homozygosity (Froh), which reflects shared ancestry of genetic haplotypes, retains variation in even large populations (e.g., SD = 0.5% when Ne = 10,000) and is likely to be the most powerful method of detecting inbreeding effects from among several alternative estimates of F. However, large samples (e.g., 12,000–65,000) will be required to detect inbreeding depression for likely effect sizes, and so studies using Froh to date have probably been underpowered.
A study was carried out to investigate the effect of restricting silage feeding on time of calving and calving performance in Holstein-Friesian cows. In the treatment group (n = 1,248 cows, 12 herds) silage feeding commenced in the evening (17:00 to 20:00 h), after a period of restricted access (2 to 10 h) while in the control group ad-libitum access to silage was provided over the 24 h period (n = 1,193 cows, 12 herds). Daytime and nighttime calvings were defined as calvings occurring between the hours of 06:30 and 00:29 and between 00:30 and 06:29, respectively. Restricting access to silage resulted in less calvings at night compared to cows with ad-libitum access to silage (18 vs 22%, P < 0.05). Cows with restricted access to silage had a higher percentage of difficult calvings (11 vs 7%, P < 0.001) and stillbirths (7 vs 5%, P < 0.05) compared to cows in the control group. The percentage of calvings at night was lower (13%) when access to silage was restricted for 10 h compared to 2, 4 or 6 h (22, 18, 25%, respectively) (P < 0.001). Calf sire breed, calf gender or cow parity did not influence time of calving. In conclusion, offering silage to pregnant Holstein-Friesian cows in the evening, after a period of restricted access, reduced the incidence of nighttime calvings, but increased the incidence of dystocia and stillbirth.
dairy cows; calving; silage feeding; dystocia; stillbirth
Twelve Holstein-Friesian calves were divided into two groups, one of which was infected with Eimeria zuernii. Fecal oocyst output, weight changes and various blood, cellular, protein and biochemical constituents were examined for both groups. Maximal fecal oocyst output occurred 21 days after infection. Both groups of calves gained weight in a linear fashion until day 21 postinfection when the infected group lost weight rapidly. The packed cell volume of the infected calves appeared markedly reduced. Although there was a reduction in plasma proteins it did not appear significant. There was a significant reduction in plasma Na+ and Cl- ions of the infected calves. There were no significant changes in the other blood constituents examined.
There is disagreement in the literature about the ability of neonatal calves to absorb perorally administered insulin. This study evaluated the absorption of a bolus of insulin administered alone or with an energy souce and its effects on the circulating insulin-like growth factor system and thyroid hormones in newborn Holstein-Friesian calves. Within 1 h of dosing, mean serum insulin and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations had increased considerably, whether the insulin was applied alone (n = 4) or together with glucose (n = 4), accompanied by marked hypoglycemia. No significant changes were observed in control calves (n = 4) given the vehicle solution. Increased serum glucose and T3 concentrations with no change in insulinemia occurred in a 4th group of calves given glucose alone. At 32 h of age and after 3 meals of colostrum there were no differences in glycemia, insulinemia, or proteinemia among the 4 groups of calves examined. Mean serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) tended to decrease over this period in the control group. The decrease was more pronounced in the insulin-treated group but absent in both groups that received glucose. These differences were associated with equivalent differences in abundance of the 40–45K IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3); however, lower molecular mass IGFBPs were not affected. The results show that a pharmacological peroral dose of insulin can lead to rapid systemic alterations in the IGF/IGFBP system in neonatal calves that can be modified by simultaneous administration of a small energy supply in the form of glucose.
To assess the ability of My Family Health Portrait (MFHP) to accurately collect family history for six common heritable disorders.
Family history is useful to assess disease risk, but is not widely used. We compared the pedigree from MFHP, an online tool for collection of family history, to a pedigree supplemented by a genetics professional.
150 volunteers collected their family histories using MFHP. A genetic counselor interviewed the volunteers to validate the entries and add diagnoses, as needed. The content and the affection assignments of the pedigrees were compared. The pedigrees were entered into Family Healthware™ to assess risks for the diseases.
The sensitivity of MFHP varied among the 6 diseases (67–100%) compared to the supplemented pedigree. The specificities ranged from 92–100%. When the pedigrees were used to generate risk scores, MFHP yielded identical risks to the supplemented pedigree for 94–99% of the volunteers for diabetes and colon, breast, and ovarian cancer. The agreement was lower for coronary artery disease (68%) and stroke (83%).
These data support the validity of MFHP pedigrees for four common conditions – diabetes and colon, breast, and ovarian cancer. The tool performed less well for coronary artery disease and stroke. We recommend that the tool be improved to better capture information for these two common conditions.
My Family Health Portrait; common disease; family history; risk assessment; pedigree
Bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (BLAD) was identified in a two-month-old Holstein heifer calf using DNA-polymerase chain reaction analysis of the affected calf and other clinical parameters. Neutrophil integrin expression (CD18, CD11a, CD11c), aggregation, and transendothelial migration were studied in vitro. Neutrophils were isolated from the affected calf and from normal, healthy, age-matched control Holstein calves. Neutrophils isolated from the affected BLAD calf had decreased expression of leukocyte integrins on their cell surface, decreased ability to aggregate in response to chemotactic stimuli, and decreased ability to migrate across bovine endothelial cell monolayers in vitro. Transendothelial migration of neutrophils from normal calves was reduced to levels comparable to the BLAD neutrophils by treatment with an anti-CD18 monoclonal antibody (MAb 60.3). Peripheral-blood lymphocytes from the BLAD calf also expressed negligible levels of leukocyte integrins, similar to their neutrophil counterparts. Our experimental findings in vitro correlate well with the clinical observations of decreased leukocyte trafficking and diminished host defense in leukocyte adhesion-deficient animals. The syndrome of BLAD may be a suitable model for one of the human leukocyte adhesion deficiency disorders.
A thorough knowledge of relationships between host genotype and immunity to parasitic infection is required to understand parasite-mediated mechanisms of genetic and population change. It has been suggested that immunity may decline with inbreeding. However, the relationship between inbreeding level and a host's response to a novel immune challenge has not been investigated in a natural population. We used the pedigreed population of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) inhabiting Mandarte Island, Canada, to test the hypothesis that a sparrow's cell-mediated immune response (CMI) to an experimental challenge would decline with individual or parental inbreeding. CMI in 6-day-old chicks declined significantly with their mother's coefficient of inbreeding, demonstrating an inter-generational effect of maternal inbreeding on offspring immunity. In fledged juveniles and adult sparrows, CMI declined markedly with an individual's own coefficient of inbreeding, but not its mother's. This relationship was consistent across seasons, and was not attributable solely to heterosis in offspring of immigrant breeders. CMI also declined with age and increased with body condition in adult sparrows, but inbreeding explained 37% of the total variation. We emphasize the implications of this dramatic inbreeding depression in cell-mediated immunity for theories of parasite-mediated evolution and the susceptibility of small, inbred populations.
Smallholder farmers’ knowledge and practice of dairy calf management on 129 farms with calves less than 10 months of age in Southeastern and Southern Highland areas of Tanzania was assessed. The method of study included both a farm visit and completion of a questionnaire. Most of the farmers were female, with a primary level of education, and majority kept 1–3 milking cows that yielded 6–10 l milk/cow/day. Most of the calves were fed milk using a residual calf suckling system. Weaning age was 3–8 months. Overall, the body condition of the calves was poor, ranged from 1 to 2.5 with a mode of 2. The majority of the farmers believed that helminthosis was the most common disease condition affecting the calves; diarrhea was ranked as the second. Calf death was reported by 20% of the farmers to have occurred in their herd lasting the 2 years prior to the study. Calf body condition score was related to body weight for calves younger than 9 weeks, and older than 23 weeks of age, whereas no such relationship existed in the age group 9 to 23 weeks. The sex distribution was skewed with less male calves being older than 23 weeks. We hypothesize that male calves experience inferior management compared with female calves. This study demonstrates a low level of knowledge on, and poor practices of calf management among the surveyed farmers that suggest the need for educational intervention.
Body condition score; Calf health; Smallholder dairy farmers; Residual calf suckling
Isolated syndactyly in cattle, also known as mulefoot, is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait with variable penetrance in different cattle breeds. Recently, two independent mutations in the bovine LRP4 gene have been reported as the primary cause of syndactyly in the Holstein and Angus cattle breeds.
We confirmed the previously described LRP4 exon 33 two nucleotide substitution in most of the affected Holstein calves and revealed additional evidence for allelic heterogeneity by the identification of four new LRP4 non-synonymous point mutations co-segregating in Holstein, German Simmental and Simmental-Charolais families.
We confirmed a significant role of LRP4 mutations in the pathogenesis of congenital syndactyly in cattle. The newly detected missense mutations in the LRP4 gene represent independent mutations affecting different conserved protein domains. However, the four newly described LRP4 mutations do still not explain all analyzed cases of syndactyly.
Complex vertebral malformation (CVM) and bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (BLAD) are two autosomal recessive lethal genetic defects frequently occurring in Holstein cattle, identifiable by single nucleotide polymorphisms. The objective of this study is to develop a rapid and reliable genotyping assay to screen the active Holstein sires and determine the carrier frequency of CVM and BLAD in Chinese dairy cattle population.
We developed real-time PCR-based assays for discrimination of wild-type and defective alleles, so that carriers can be detected. Only one step was required after the DNA extraction from the sample and time consumption was about 2 hours. A total of 587 Chinese Holstein bulls were assayed, and fifty-six CVM-carriers and eight BLAD-carriers were identified, corresponding to heterozygote carrier frequencies of 9.54% and 1.36%, respectively. The pedigree analysis showed that most of the carriers could be traced back to the common ancestry, Osborndale Ivanhoe for BLAD and Pennstate Ivanhoe Star for CVM.
These results demonstrate that real-time PCR is a simple, rapid and reliable assay for BLAD and CVM defective allele detection. The high frequency of the CVM allele suggests that implementing a routine testing system is necessary to gradually eradicate the deleterious gene from the Chinese Holstein population.