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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2003;16(9): 1247-1253.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2003.1247    Published online January 1, 2003.
Genetic and Environmental Deterrents to Breeding for Disease Resistance in Dairy Cattle
C. Y. Lin, S. E. Aggrey
Selection for increased milk production in dairy cows has often resulted in a higher incidence of disease and thus incurred a greater health costs. Considerable interests have been shown in breeding dairy cattle for disease resistance in recent years. This paper discusses the limitations of breeding dairy cattle for genetic resistance in six parts: 1) complexity of disease resistance, 2) difficulty in estimating genetic parameters for planning breeding programs against disease, 3) undesirable relationship between production traits and disease, 4) disease as affected by recessive genes, 5) new mutation of the pathogens, and 6) variable environmental factors. The hidden problems of estimating genetic and phenotypic parameters involving disease incidence were examined in terms of categorical nature, non-independence, heterogeneity of error variance, non-randomness, and automatic relationship between disease and production traits. In light of these limitations, the prospect for increasing genetic resistance by conventional breeding methods would not be so bright as we like. Since the phenomenon of disease is the result of a joint interaction among host genotype, pathogen genotype and environment, it becomes essential to adopt an integrated approach of increasing genetic resistance of the host animals, manipulating the pathogen genotypes, developing effective vaccines and drugs, and improving the environmental conditions. The advances in DNA-based technology show considerable promise in directly manipulating host and pathogen genomes for genetic resistance and producing vaccines and drugs for prevention and medication to promote the wellbeing of the animals.
Keywords: Breeding Strategies; Disease Resistance; Dairy Cattle

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