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J Dairy Sci. 2010 Aug;93(8):3797-808. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2778.

Effects of beta-kappa-casein (CSN2-CSN3) haplotypes and beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) genotypes on milk production traits and detailed protein composition of individual milk of Simmental cows.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, University of Padova, viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italy.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of CSN2-CSN3 (beta-kappa-casein) haplotypes and BLG (beta-lactoglobulin) genotypes on milk production traits, content of protein fractions, and detailed protein composition of individual milk of Simmental cows. Content of the major protein fractions was measured by reversed-phase HPLC in individual milk samples of 2,167 cows. Protein composition was measured as percentage of each casein (CN) fraction to total CN and as percentage of beta-lactoglobulin (beta-LG) to total whey protein. Genotypes at CSN2, CSN3, and BLG were ascertained by reversed-phase HPLC, and CSN2-CSN3 haplotype probabilities were estimated for each cow. Traits were analyzed by using a linear model including the fixed effects of herd-test-day, parity, days in milk, and somatic cell score class, linear regressions on haplotype probabilities, class of BLG genotype, and the random effect of the sire of the cow. Effects of haplotypes and BLG genotypes on yields were weak or trivial. Genotype BB at BLG and haplotypes carrying CSN2 B and CSN3 B were associated with increased CN content and CN number. Haplotypes including CSN3 B were associated with increased kappa-CN content and percentage of kappa-CN to total CN and with decreased percentages of alpha(S1)- and gamma-CN to total CN. Allele CSN2 B had the effect of increasing beta-CN content and decreasing content of alpha(S1)-CN. Haplotypes including allele CSN2 A(1) exhibited decreased beta-, alpha(S2)-, and gamma-CN concentrations and increased alpha(S1)- and kappa-CN contents, whereas CSN2 I had positive effects on beta-CN concentration and trivial effects on content of other protein fractions. Effects of haplotypes on CN composition were similar to those exerted on content of CN fractions. Allele BLG A was associated with increased beta-LG concentration and percentage of beta-LG to total whey protein and with decreased content of other milk proteins, namely beta-CN and alpha(S1)-CN. Estimated additive genetic variance for investigated traits ranged from 14 to 39% of total variance. Increasing the frequency of specific genotypes or haplotypes by selective breeding might be an effective way to change milk protein composition.

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