An area of chromosome 6 that affects cattle carcass weight has been identified using two different Japanese breeds. Knowledge of this four-gene region should be useful in breeding beef cattle.
Akiko Takasuga, from the Shirakawa Institute of Animal Genetics, led a team of researchers who studied Japanese Black and Japanese Brown cattle, two breeds that have survived separately for thousands of years. According to Takasuga, "The 591-kb critical region contains four genes, LOC523874, C6H4orf30, NCAPG, and LOC540095. Interestingly, LOC540095 is the bovine ortholog of the human gene LCORL, and the NCAPG-LCORL region was recently identified as one determinant of human adult height".
The researchers have named the size-determining region CW-2 and have found a single nucleotide polymorphism which can be used as a positional candidate of CW-2 for marker-assisted selection. Takasuga said, "The CW-2 genotype explains a large portion of phenotypic variance. It may be widely distributed among European cattle breeds and not yet be fixed. Selection for this genotype should accelerate the breeding of meatier cattle".
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