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Stackyard News Jun 2012

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Computer Mating Avoids Passing on Undesirable Traits

Recent publicity given to newly identified genetic defects in dairy cattle has caused concern amongst some breeders, but they should rest assured that it is not difficult to protect their herds against their undesirable effects.

Rob Braithwaite from WWS

Rob Braithwaite

This message from World Wide Sires UK reflects recent publicity around different haplotypes, or segments of DNA, which can cause detrimental effects in the black and white population, but recognises the fact that the defects will only be expressed when inherited from both parents.

“This means that as long as the matings are made with care – avoiding a carrier sire if there is another carrier animal in the female’s back pedigree – then the defect will be avoided,” says Rob Braithwaite from WWS.

By far the easiest way to make sure the undesirable haplotypes are not present on both sides of the pedigree is to run the proposed breeding through a mating program which is equipped with this facility, as this will alert the breeder to any mating which could lead to problems.

“It’s impossible for any individual to keep track of all animals which could be carrying undesirable genes or haplotypes, as there are so many bloodline combinations in the Holstein population,” he says.

“Furthermore, some countries’ bulls have not even been tested, so can only be identified as potential carriers because of their breeding.”

Recommending the use of the Worldwide Mating Service (WMS) which carries inbuilt protection against all known undesirable recessive genes - as well as the three recently reported haplotypes (called HH1, HH2 and HH3) which affect fertility – he says this provides complete reassurance that the defect will not be doubled up, with the resulting undesirable consequences.

“WMS has been designed to avoid matings between any two carriers of any genetic defect and has been successfully performing this function for many years,” says Mr Braithwaite. “Whenever new undesirable traits arise, they are immediately built into the system, which is one reason why milk producers all over the world have put their faith in the package, and made it the most respected and heavily used program of its kind in the dairy breeding industry.”

WMS is available through World Wide Sires UK. For more information contact your local WWS breeding consultant or call Freephone: 0800 1613371.

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