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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #304808

Title: Genetic markers that influence feed efficiency phenotypes also affect cattle temperament as measured by flight speed

item Lindholm-Perry, Amanda
item Kuehn, Larry
item Freetly, Harvey
item Snelling, Warren

Submitted to: Animal Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2014
Publication Date: 1/27/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Lindholm-Perry, A.K., Kuehn, L.A., Freetly, H.C., Snelling, W.M. 2015. Genetic markers that influence feed efficiency phenotypes also affect cattle temperament as measured by flight speed. Animal Genetics. 46(1):60-64.

Interpretive Summary: Flight speed is a measure of the time it takes an animal to traverse a certain distance after being contained in a chute and is considered to be an objective measure of an animal’s temperament. As handling cattle is necessary for disease treatment, during breeding seasons, weaning and other various reasons, a calm animal response to handling is important for the safety of both the animal and the handlers. Flight speed has also been correlated to the economically important trait of gain; thus, some markers that are already known to positively correlate with economically valuable phenotypes may also produce animals with desirable temperaments. Genetic markers located within three candidate genes related to startle disease, myelin sheathing of the central nervous system and excitatory synaptic transmission, as well as a number of markers previously associated with gain and feed intake, were tested for association with flight speed. None of the markers within the candidate genes tested were associated with flight speed; however, several SNP on BTA6 were associated with flight speed. These results suggest that the positional functional candidate genes tested are unlikely to contribute much to the variation in flight speed in our population of cattle, but that single nucleotide polymorphisms located on BTA6 that are strongly associated with average daily gain and average daily feed intake may also influence cattle temperament.

Technical Abstract: The measure of flight speed for cattle has been shown to be a predictive indicator of temperament and has also been associated with feed efficiency phenotypes, thus, genetic markers associated with both traits may assist with the selection of animals with calmer disposition and economic value. Chromosomal regions on 9 and 17 were previously associated with flight speed. The genes quaking (QKI), glutamate receptor, ionotropic, AMPA 2 (GRIA2), and glycine receptor ß (GLRB) were identified in this region as potential functional candidate genes. Beef steers (n=1,057) were genotyped with SNP located within and flanking these candidate genes. One SNP located near the QKI gene and one near the GRIA2 gene was nominally associated with flight speed (P