Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #302346

Research Project: STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE HEIFER SELECTION AND HEIFER DEVELOPMENT

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Gentic improvement in cattle -- are we sacrificing reproduction in favor of production?

Author
item Cushman, Robert - Bob
item McNeel, Anthony
item Tait Jr, Richard
item Lindholm-Perry, Amanda
item PERRY, GEORGE - South Dakota State University
item Snelling, Warren
item Bennett, Gary

Submitted to: Reproduction and Fertility Supplement
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2014
Publication Date: 8/1/2014
Citation: Cushman, R.A., McNeel, A.K., Tait Jr, R.G., Lindholm-Perry, A.K., Perry, G.A., Snelling, W.M., Bennett, G.L. 2014. Gentic improvement in cattle -- are we sacrificing reproduction in favor of production?. In: Juengel, J. L., Miyamoto, A., Price, C., Reynolds, L. P., Smith, W. F., and Webb, R., editors. Reproduction in Domestic Ruminants VIII. Leicestershire, England: Context Products Ltd. p. 27-36.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Reproductive traits are lowly heritable (Cushman et al., 2008; Cammack et al., 2009; Cushman et al., 2014); however, as genomic technologies become a part of selection decisions, there is a need to understand how specific gene variants affect fertility in domestic ruminants. Both classical quantitative genetics approaches and genomic approaches have identified antagonistic relationships between production traits and fertility. Thus, there is a need to understand the gene variants that influence both production and fertility to ensure that selection pressure for production traits does not lead to a decrease in fertility. However, within an animal there are complex genetic networks designed to maintain homeostasis, meaning that a gene variant that suppresses one arm of a biochemical pathway can be difficult to identify because of compensation in another arm of the same biochemical pathway. Additionally a gene variant that results in a phenotype in one population may not do so in another population because of genetic background differences or genotype by environment interactions. Thus, the challenge is to be able to understand the function of gene variants so that they can be used to balance selection for production traits without negatively impacting fertility in domestic ruminants.