Submitted to: Progressive Dairyman
Publication Type: Popular publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The focus on production traits in genetic selection programs with little consideration for traits associated with reproduction has contributed to the decline in reproductive function. Moreover, there is a negative genetic correlation between milk yield and reproduction so that selection for yield can result in selection of genes that compromise fertility. The development of genomics is leading to discovery of specific genes responsible for dairy cattle infertility. This article briefly describes the discovery of a mutation (stop codon in CWC15 gene) underlying a portion of the genome (called JH1) causing infertility in Jerseys. An embryo that inherits a defective version of CWC15 from both its sire and dam is not able to complete development but instead dies at some point in gestation. As a result, there are no living animals with two copies of the defective gene. Fortunately, the JH1 locus can be detected through genetic testing with the Illumina 50K or 6K genotype chip. Findings like these will continue to provide dairy cattle breeders with tools that can reverse some of the historical decline in fertility in dairy cattle that is attributable to inbreeding.