Analysis of PMCH and LEP genotypes and study of the ITM2A gene as a basis for selection of beef replacement heifers
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The need for a more reliable method to select beef heifers to retain as replacement dams has become a concern in the beef industry. Two polymorphisms described in leptin (LEP), p.Arg25Cys, and pro-melanin concentrating hormone (PMCH), g.-134A>T, have already been shown to improve carcass quality in beef cattle. This study was designed to evaluate any additional advantages of these polymorphisms in terms of heifer conception and calving success and lactational milk yield measured indirectly by their calves’ early ADG while they were primarily on lactation. A dominant effect of the dam’s PMCH T allele was observed on improved calf early ADGs in Simmental heifer dams, although not in Angus heifer dams. This effect could be useful in cow-calf operations where calves were suckling their dams for a longer period before sending the cow-calf pairs out to summer pasture. The dam LEP genotype did not show an effect on their calves’ ADG. This was assumed to be due to low body fat reserves of the heifer dams at the age of two years, allowing for only low levels of leptin. Even though heifer conception was not affected by their LEP and PMCH genotypes, it would be worth evaluating their rebreeding success in the presence of these SNPs in the future. The Integral Membrane Protein 2A (ITM2A) was hypothesized as a candidate gene for frame size in cattle. DNA fragments from 20 cattle, matching the predicted exons of the cattle ITM2A gene, were sequenced to determine whether genetic variation existed. However, the sequence obtained based on the predicted cattle ITM2A sequences appeared to be a pseudogene, rather than the actual cattle ITM2A gene, because exons 1, 2, 3 and 5 contained stop codons. Since frame size has been reported to be associated with the reproductive performance of beef dams and their calves’ growth characteristics, it would be useful to characterize this gene once an improved cattle genome assembly is available.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentAnimal and Poultry Science
CommitteeBuchanan, Fiona; Lardner, Bart; Mutsvangwa, Tim
Copyright DateDecember 2015