Cow Fertility Could be Blamed on Breeding For Milk Yield

DENMARK – Breeding for higher milk yield could dramatically reduce fertility due to embryonic death, European researchers have discovered.
calendar icon 10 January 2014
clock icon 1 minute read

A study looking at a Norwegian Red herd has shown embryonic fatality is caused by a genetic mutation simultaneously responsible for lifting milk yield.

The team, led by a group of genomics experts from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in Denmark, says the discovery debunks the theory that cow fertility is linked to negative energy balance at peak lactation.

The specific cause of the ‘recessive embryonically lethal mutation’ is uncertain, although believed to result from the loss of RNASEH2B, known to cause mouse embryo fatality.

This realisation could go to explaining the rising fertility problems over recent decades as cows have produced more milk.

Further Reading

To read more about the dilemma between milk yield and fertility click here.

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