Newly Discovered Genetic Defect In Angus Cattle

Newly Discovered Genetic Defect In Angus Cattle

photo of Angus calf with defect
Photo courtesy of Dr. Laurence Denholm, NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Australia. Please see Flock and Herd Case Notes article for more information.

A genetic defect, Developmental Duplication (DD), was recently discovered in Angus cattle. This genetic defect is recessive in nature and current results from screening of close to 1,100 bulls has shown a moderate (3%) frequency of the recessive allele. It is important to be aware of current genetic defects and commercially available tests for them to enable informed selection and mating decisions. These types of discoveries will likely become more frequent across numerous breeds as more information from large-scale sequencing efforts becomes available.

For commercial cattle producers, the use of a well-designed crossbreeding system helps to mitigate the risk of genetic defects.

For seedstock producers, as the list of known genetic defects becomes larger, more sophisticated methods of mate selection will need to be employed to reduce the probability of genetic defects while improving overall genetic merit.

A more detailed description of DD and an update on current animal screening efforts along with the results from bulls genotyped for this defect can be found in the paper by Jonathan E. Beever, Ph.D., "Likely Presence of Genetic Condition in a Line of Angus Cattle" (PDF 173KB) on the American Angus Association website (

August 2013

Matt Spangler, Ph.D.
Extension Beef Genetics Specialist
University of Nebraska