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An area of chromosome 6 that affects cattle carcass weight has been identified using two different Japanese species. Knowledge of this four-gene region, described in the open access journal BMC Genetics, should be useful in breeding beef cattle.

Akiko Takasuga, from the Shirakawa Institute of Animal Genetics, led a team of researchers who studied Japanese Black and Japanese Brown cattle, two breeds that have survived separately for thousands of years. According to Takasuga, "The 591-kb critical region contains four genes, LOC523874, C6H4orf30, NCAPG, and LOC540095. Interestingly, LOC540095 is the bovine ortholog of the human gene LCORL, and the NCAPG-LCORL region was recently identified as one determinant of human adult height".

The researchers have named the size-determining region CW-2 and have found a single nucleotide polymorphism which can be used as a positional candidate of CW-2 for marker-assisted selection. Takasuga said, "The CW-2 genotype explains a large portion of phenotypic variance. It may be widely distributed among European cattle breeds and not yet be fixed. Selection for this genotype should accelerate the breeding of meatier cattle".

Source : BioMed Central

August 4, 2009 12:52 PMBiology

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