DNA testing reveals some Jerseys have Holstein genetics

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The American Jersey Cattle Association sent a release to members Feb. 15 telling them the genomes of 15 animals recorded by the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory have been found to include DNA associated with the Holstein breed.

All 15 are progeny of the cow named “Oomsdale Gordo Goldie Gratitude 111224922.” There are an additional 20 progeny

of this cow recorded with the AJCA that have not been genomically tested as of Feb. 15.

How much Holstein?

“AJCA staff, with full cooperation from AIPL geneticists, has begun a systematic process to discover, to the fullest possible extent, the percentage and source of Holstein DNA in the genomes of these animals,” wrote Neal Smith, AJCA Executive Secretary in his letter to members.

The investigation has centered on the dam, “Oomsdale Gordo Goldie Gratitude 111224922 (Gratitude)” because the identity and Jersey breed-specific SNP profiles of the sires of the tested cattle are not in question. The cow “Gratitude” was DNA-typed by ImmGen Inc. in 2002 in accordance with AJCA rules governing registration of embryo transfer (ET) progeny.

Cherie Bayer, director of development for American Jersey Cattle Association, cautions the industry of taking any major actions just yet, because so much is still being learned.

“There is an ongoing discovery process that is still being played out here,” she said. “I think action or reaction needs to be delayed until we get more facts on it,” she said, adding the AJCA board of directors is also waiting, to be sure all facts are in.

Newer technology

Bayer said the new technology used to test an animal’s genetics and its DNA could be part of the reason the discovery is being made.

“It’s fascinating what we think we know by stories and records,” she said, compared to the results an actual DNA test will show.

Adopted in 2002 and replacing blood typing, DNA-typing is the AJCA’s official method of parentage qualification. The cow’s dam, “Oomsdale Alf Gloria Goldie 3935190,” and

maternal grandam, “Oomsdale Herm Groovy Gloria 3786238,” had been previously blood typed as ET donor dams, and were DNA-typed in 2002 in conjunction with the parentage verification request for “Gratitude.” The sire of record of the cow “Gratitude,” Bold D Gem Gordo 666879, was not alive and had not been previously blood typed.

On the basis of its tests and available information, ImmGen Inc. reported to the AJCA and the breeder, Michael A. Ooms, that the DNA-types of “Gratitude,” her dam “Goldie” and the grandam “Gloria” were consistent with the AJCA-recorded parentage.

“Gratitude” is dead and not available for genotyping. However, AIPL geneticists have examined the DNA of the 15 genomically tested progeny in addition to DNA obtained from the cow’s maternal grandam, “Oomsdale Herm Groovy Gloria 3786238″, and “Oomsdale Grant-ET 111152315,” a maternal brother of “Gratitude.”

A complete list of cow identification and testing procedures was sent to members. Bayer said more updates will be made as they become available. Follow online at www.usjersey.com.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

One Comment

  1. Roxanne says:

    Interesting article. Here is another you might like about chickens that are both genetically female and male. It’s a good read.
    http://cbt20.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/biotechnology-in-the-news-8/

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