Milking Shorthorn colour genetics?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Jennifer L., Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does anyone know how the genetics in MS work? I'm interested in why some cows are roan, some mainly red, etc. Can't seem to Google up anything on it, other than the fact that MS are the only cows out there with much roaning to them, so it must be a different gene they have.

    Jennifer
     
  2. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    there are separate color and patern genes
     

  3. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi, Bob, yes, thanks for the reply. I know there are different genes for colour and pattern, but I haven't been able to find the information on what combination produces the three predominant looks of these cows. From what I can see, they come in mainly red, mainly white with red spots, and then a version that is roan. It's obvious that the roan gene is separate from the colour gene, but I'd like to know what the outcomes would be like, for, example, Red x Roan, White x Roan, those kinds of crosses.

    If anyone knows, give me a holler. :)

    Thanks!

    Jennifer
     
  4. caseyweiss

    caseyweiss Well-Known Member

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    Jennifer,

    Shorthorn and Milking Shorthorn color genetics can be confusing if a person is not familar with the breed or basic mendellian genetics. As stated the breed varies in color, possibilities are red, roan, white, or any combination including red with white spots and/or white with red spots.

    All cattle have two genes at the locus that controlls coat color. Shorthorns have two gene possibilities, Red or White. If an animal has two red genes, it will be red. If it has two white, it will be white. If it has a red and a white, it will be roan, because of the co-dominance of the genes. Spotting on the animal is controlled by a different set of genes and is independent of coat color.

    If you breed a red to a red, you will get 100% red offspring.

    If you breed a red to a roan, 50% will be red, 50% will be roan.

    If you breed a red to a white, 100% will be roan.

    If you breed a roan to a roan, 25% will be red, 50% roan, 25% white.

    Breed a roan to a white, you get 50% roan, 50% white.

    White to a white, 100% white calves.

    Where is gets confusing is sometimes breeders don't get an accurate description of their animals and it is miss labeled. An example is when genetically roan animals can look red because of a very little amount of white. Also spotting can appear at any time because it is a recessive gene.

    A white shorthorn can make some beautiful roan offspring when crossed to other breeds. You can get blue roans when crossing to an angus or holstein, tan and brindle roans when crossing to jersey's, etc. I have seen some very pretty hereford x Shorthorns that were red, whiteface roans.

    Thanks,

    Casey
     
  5. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Casey! I get it now. :) I had the idea that red and white were alleles and that there was another gene that would cause the roan as a pattern. Instead it sounds like all MSs are red, and that some have either one or two genes for a type of white that is an allele with a gene for full colour expression. That makes better sense to me now. Thanks VERY MUCH for getting me straightened out. :clap:

    Now if I can figure out spotting I'll be all set. :) The only cattle genetics I've ever worked with are Holsteins, and they are pretty ordinary.

    Jennifer