29 December 1995

Polled gene marker

TECHNOLOGY can now identify cattle which carry the polled gene.

Scientists in the department of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, have located repeating sequences of DNA close to the gene that determines hornlessness in cattle.

A report in New Scientist (Dec 16) describes how they have developed genetic markers which enables breeders to determine whether an animal has two copies of the gene. If so, when crossed with another carrying two genes, all descendants will be polled.

Scientists have identified the markers in French Charolais and Limousin cattle and German Simmentals. Similar work is underway at the Roslin Institute of Animal Health at Edinburgh. &#42