Effect of kappa-casein and beta-lactoglobulin loci on milk production traits and reproductive performance of Holstein cows

AM Tsiaras, GG Bargouli, G Banos, CM Boscos

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The effects of kappa-casein (kappa-CN) and beta-lactoglobulin (beta-LG) loci on milk production traits (milk, fat, protein, and lactose yield, fat, protein, and lactose content) and reproductive performance (gestation length, calving interval, age at first and second calving, number of services per conception) was estimated for 278 Holstein cows in the first 2 lactations. Genotypes of kappa-CN and beta-LG were determined by alkaline and acidic polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Milk production was recorded daily. Single-trait, mixed, linear models were used for the statistical analysis of the data. Results indicated that kappa-CN genotypes affected significantly protein yield and content (genotype AB>genotype AA). A tendency for increased milk and fat yield of animals having AB kappa-CN genotype was also found. Fat content and lactose yield and content were not affected. In the beta-LG system, significant differences were detected for milk yield (AB>AA), fat yield (BB and AB>AA), fat content (BB>AA and AB), and lactose yield (AB>AA). A tendency for higher protein yield was also observed (AB>AA). The beta-LG locus had no significant effect on protein and lactose content. No associations between polymorphisms at the kappa-CN locus and reproductive performance were found. There was a tendency, however, for cows with AB genotype to have older age at first and second calving. In the beta-LG system, cows with AA genotype had significantly shorter gestation length than did those with AB or BB genotype. No differences were detected between beta-LG polymorphisms for the other reproductive traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • milk protein loci
  • milk protein genotype
  • milk production trait
  • reproductive performance

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