Beef breed groups vigilant tracking genetic defects

Beef breed groups vigilant tracking genetic defects

Angus in pasture

When a defect surfaces, beef breeds put the wheels in motion to determine the cause.

Dan Moser, president of Angus Genetics Inc., a subsidiary of the American Angus Association, says breeders are vigilant when a commercial customer reports a problem.

“We have a reporting procedure that is followed, and if we see something out of the ordinary, we will gather as much information as possible,” he says. That usually includes necropsy results, DNA samples and parentage information.

The Angus breed works with University of Nebraska veterinarian David Steffen when cases need investigation.

“He is an expert with congenital conditions, and his research has involved several breeds,” Moser says.

If the issue is determined to be genetic in origin, that information will be added to the breed database.

“If the carrier can or cannot be used, we share that information,” Moser says. “Testing becomes mandatory, and the info is passed along to breeders.”

He adds even if an animal might be a carrier, the data allows breed associations to identify clean descendants of that animal.

Mutations occur when cells fail to replicate, says Jon Beever, an animal scientist and director of the Genome Center for the Advancement of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee. Beever has worked with several beef breeds, including the Angus breed.

“Mutations are vast in nature, simply because of the number of cells and the need for all of them to replicate,” he says.

Beever says seedstock producers who notice persistent issues are encouraged to contact their veterinarian and breed associations. Moser says breed associations are prepared to handle genetic situations as they arise.

“Mutations happen in every generation of every organism, so it’s nothing new,” he says. “We have the technical ability to sequence and identify changes, and to address those situations quickly.”


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular


Through the end of November, farmers were still hard at work on getting the rest of their corn crop out of the fields. Despite the extreme delays, markets haven’t responded the way most analysts would like.


DILLON, Mont. – Dr. Eric Belasco, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University, addressed a room full of cattle producers on Nov. 19 on the University of Montana Western campus for the Southwestern Montana Stockman’s Association meeting. During his talk, Dr. Belasco touched on some of the key points affecting the current markets.


The University of Missouri’s Variety Testing Program has been providing farmers with information since 1937. It started with corn yield testing, and the university has continued testing corn hybrids in fields across the state.


Crop residue serves an important role in physically protecting soil from erosion during rain events or high winds, as well as enhancing soil biological activity by providing sources of organic carbon and nitrogen for its energy needs.


Despite assurances by industry that new dicamba formulations are safe, damage claims have spiked in Illinois, the nation’s biggest producer of soybeans. And many believe volatilization is to blame.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News