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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

Sometimes it’s necessary to perform a BY JAIME PULLMAN JERRY VOSS / SHUTTERSTOCK STEVE OEHLENSCHLAGER / SHUTTERSTOCK enetic defects are a fact of life. We are fortunate today to have technology available that makes a defect manageable instead of potentially debilitating to business the way it was just a few decades ago. But no matter how fancy the DNA tests get, managing genetic conditions successfully takes transparency, time, and thought. Over the last several years, the American Angus Association (AAA) has updated the protocols on several genetic conditions that have been discovered, allowing their members and clients to continue to improve Angus genetics. “All breeds of beef and dairy cattle have identifi ed recessive genetic conditions,” explains Dr. Dan Moser, President of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI), owned by the AAA. “Some, dwarfi sm, for example, were identifi ed in the 1950s, long before genetic testing was available. In order to identify carriers the suspect pedigrees had to be strategically bred and it just took too much time and too much money to test through designed matings.” Prior to joining AGI, Dr. Moser was an animal science professor at KSU. While he wasn’t with AGI when some of the early genetic defects were identifi ed and protocol changes were made, he saw fi rst hand the implications with the Kansas State cattle herd. “Since DNA testing is now available, when recessive genetic conditions are identifi ed in Angus and other cattle breeds we can use genomics to locate the causal mutation,” he explains. “We test potential carrier animals and fi nd those free of the condition that will transmit the positive aspects of their ancestors.” The AAA policies evolved with time and information. The requirement of testing may also depend on if a defect is lethal or not. Testing is required for registration of recessive conditions that are lethal to the affected progeny, like Arthrogryposis Multiplex (AM, sometimes called Curly Calf). Arthrogryposis Multiplex was fi rst recognized in 2008. After the AM discovery, rather than cancelling or suspending the registration of AM carrier females and bulls, the AAA 114 I WORKING RANCH I NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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