What is a SNP?

A SNP (pronounced “snip”) stands for single nucleotide polymorphism. This is a fancy term describing single points in the DNA sequence that differ between animals. The vast majority (~99.9%) of the DNA sequence is identical in all cattle (and people and mice for that matter). There are some locations in the DNA sequence where a…

The Full Story Behind W/C Wide Track 694Y

This spring, a high-impact Simmental bull, W/C Wide Track 694Y, was erroneously named a carrier of Contractural Arachnodactyly (CA), also known as fawn calf syndrome. After further investigation, it became clear that Wide Track was in fact free of the defect. What happened to lead to such a monumental mistake? Here is the full story from American Simmental Association (ASA), Genex Cooperative, Inc. and the Werning family.

Investing in the Next Generation of Animal Breeders

Investing in the Next Generation of Animal Breeders Jackie Atkins, PhD, American Simmental Association and Sue Finley, The Midwest Herdsman As a teenager, Robert Walton’s goal was to breed cattle “homozygous for all the good genes”.  Walton pursued this mission as an exchange student with Dr. Ivan Johansson in Sweden followed by a doctorate in…

Coat Color Dilution in Simmental Cattle

Simmental, Hereford, and Gelbvieh cattle can carry a mutation in a gene (called Pmel17) which causes a black coat color to be diluted to a grey color. This is a different mutation for coat color dilution from Charolais cattle. The dilution mutation is masked in red cattle (or at least not as obvious as the…

Reporting Abnormalities

By Jackie Atkins, PhD During the calving season, it is not unusual to hear about unusual calves born with a variety of defects.  Many of these defects are spontaneous events that are triggered by a variety of cues and are not necessarily genetic in nature.  However, reporting these abnormalities to the ASA or other breed…

The Cattleman’s Science Dictionary

The Cattleman’s Dictionary The Science Behind Genetic Selection By Dr. Jackie Atkins Recently, the ASA has gathered terms for an online glossary in order to help our members understand the science behind genetic selection a little better.  While this does not make for exciting reading, we hope these definitions will help our members have a…