Photo taken by Iben Ravnborg Jensen.
A recent study, published in the scientific journal Journal of Animal Science, has genetically characterized a herd of Danish Jutland cattle. The study is based on 135 individuals from the Kortegaard herd of Danish Jutland cattle, which has been genotyped with the HD cattle chip, containing more than 700.000 genetic markers. These genotypes have been compared with a number of other breeds previously genotyped with the same HD cattle chip.
Results showed low levels of genetic variation in the Jutland breed. In addition it was found that long stretches of chromosomes being identical was much more common in Jutland cattle than any of the other breeds. This is likely due to recent inbreeding within recent generations. The frequency of short stretches of chromosomes being identical was generally at the same level in all breeds, indicating that historical inbreeding (many generations back) has not been higher in the Jutland breed than in the other breeds included in the study. In conclusion the results show that Jutland cattle originates from a large historical population, but that genetic variation has been lost recently due to small effective population size.
Genomic markers could be a useful tool to more efficiently limit further loss of genetic variation in breeds with small census size, such as the Jutland cattle breed.
Pertoldi C, Purfield DC, Berg P, Jensen TH, Bach OS, Vingborg R & Kristensen TN. 2014. Genetic characterisation of a herd of the endangered Danish Jutland cattle. Journal of Animal Science 92:2372-2376.