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J Appl Genet. 2011 Nov;52(4):459-65. doi: 10.1007/s13353-011-0051-3. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

The F279Y polymorphism of the GHR gene and its relation to milk production and somatic cell score in German Holstein dairy cattle.

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Department for Crop and Animal Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany.


The bovine growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene has been identified as a strong positional and functional candidate gene influencing milk production. A non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in exon 8 leads to a phenylalanine to tyrosine amino acid substitution (F279Y) in the receptor. The aim of the study was to estimate the effects of the F279Y mutation on milk yield, fat, protein, casein, and lactose yield and content, as well as somatic cell score (SCS), in a German Holstein dairy cattle population. The analysis of 1,370 dairy cows confirmed a strong association of the F279Y polymorphism with milk yield, as well as with fat, protein, and casein contents. Furthermore, increasing effects on lactose yield and content for the 279Y allele were found. Even though the tyrosine variant occurred as the minor allele (16.5%), its substitution effects were 320 kg (305 d), 0.02 kg per day, and 0.07 kg per day for milk, casein, and lactose yields, respectively. The same allele had negative effects on fat, protein, and casein contents. Finally, the high-milk-yield tyrosine allele was also associated with lower SCS (p < 0.05). The data support the high potential of the F279Y polymorphism as a marker for the improvement of milk traits in selection programs.

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