Genetic variation within the Hereford breed of cattle

S C Blott, J L Williams, C S Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Genetic differentiation among Hereford populations from Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand together with six other beef breeds was assessed using blood type polymorphisms. Changes in the genetic structure of the British Hereford population over time were also examined. Loci surveyed were seven red cell antigen systems (A, B, C, F, L, S, Z), and two serum protein loci (transferrin and albumin). Within group variation was measured by the average expected heterozygosity, and between group relationships by genetic distance. There was significant genetic differentiation among Hereford populations from different countries. Differences between Hereford groups, however, were not as large as differences between breeds. There were also significance differences among British herds. The proportion of Canadian genes in the British 'hybrid' population was estimated to have increased from 0.42 (+/- 0.34) in the 1970s to 0.98 (+/- 0.11) in the 1990s. Canadian Hereford groups were found to be less heterozygous than other groups, and replacement of the British population with Canadian animals may lead to loss of variation. Breeding strategies that preserve original native genes in British Hereford populations should be considered by commercial breeders, in order to prevent the long-term loss of genetic variation within the breed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-11
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Genetics
Volume29
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

Keywords

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Cattle
  • Erythrocytes
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Heterozygote
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Regression Analysis
  • Species Specificity

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