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J Anim Sci. 2009 Nov;87(11):3464-9. doi: 10.2527/jas.2009-1854. Epub 2009 Jul 31.

Prevalence of alphas1-casein genotypes in American dairy goats.

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Department of Animal Science, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


Widespread genotyping of US dairy goat breeds for casein variants has not been reported, even though the genetic data could be of use in selective breeding programs. For instance, variability in the content of protein and solids in goat milk is attributed to allelic differences in the goat alpha(s1)-casein gene. Concentrations of alpha(s1)-casein in goat milk are positively correlated with milk components and coagulation properties. The alleles A and B are designated as strong alleles, resulting in the greatest amount of alpha(s1)-casein in goat milk, whereas the E allele produces intermediate amounts and the weak allele F produces the least concentrations of alpha(s1)-casein in goat milk. Here we report on one of the first surveys of the distribution of alpha(s1)-casein genotypes in US dairy goats. The population surveyed, consisting of a total of 257 American dairy goats representing 7 main dairy breeds, contained a greater predominance of the weaker alleles, E and F, than the strong alleles, A and B. Allele distribution was related to breed, with Toggenburg, Alpine, Saanen, and Oberhasli containing the most E and F alleles and LaMancha, Nubian, and Nigerian Dwarf the fewest. Quantification of alpha(s1)-casein production by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis demonstrated that F/F animals had the least amount of alpha(s1)-casein protein in their milk compared with all other genotypes. The results indicate that genetic improvement of dairy goats in the United States could be achieved if an alpha(s1)-casein breeding scheme were adopted.

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