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Written by Super User Category: ECO GENOCIDE
Published on 02 May 2021 Hits: 156

Not all animals are cute and cuddly...some are down right weird...but even they deserve some love once in a while.
1. Double-Muscling

The term double-muscling is quite literal, and accurately describes the phenotype of a myostatin knockout. Myostatin knockouts physically produce twice the amount of muscle as a normal animal! Myostatin is a negative regulator of muscle growth which means that animals that don't have myostatin, have increased muscle growth not only in muscle fiber number (2x) but also in size. On top of the already increasing muscle mass, myostatin knockouts have significantly less adipose tissue which accentuates their impressive physique. Double-muscling is an autosomal recessive mutation meaning an animal needs both copies to be The Hulk, but having only one copy can give a lesser "I work out" phenotype.
Mcpherron, A. C., and S.-J. Lee. "Double Muscling in Cattle Due to Mutations in the Myostatin Gene." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 94.23 (1997): 12457-2461. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
ANSC 452 Notes: "Genetic Mutations in Livestock Affecting Growth and Development"
2. Hypotrichosis
Hypotrichosis is a genetic disorder characterized by varying degrees of "hairlessness". There are believed to be 6 kinds of genetic hypotrichosis based on the degree of hairlessness: lethal hairless, semi-hairlessness, hypotrichosis with anodontia, viable hypotrichosis, hypotrichosis with missing incisors, and streaked hairlessness. The majority of calves born with hypotrichosis succumb to the illness due to a lack of teeth or environmental stress. Viable hypotrichosis (pictured above), however, is survivable with proper management and is caused by an autosomal recessive gene in the homozygous state. It is described as having normal teeth and patches of fine hair limited to the inner ears, eyelids, tail switch, and dewlaps. While the number of hair follicles are normal, the majority of them developed abnormally leading to the patterned hair patches. This lack of normal hair can be attributed to an absence of papillae, and a lack of differentiation in the epithelial cells lining the hair follicle.
HUTT, F. B., and L. Z. SAUNDERS. "VIABLE GENETIC HYPOTRICHOSIS IN GUERNSEY CATTLE." Journal of Heredity 44.3 (1953): 97-103. Journal of Heredity. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
HUTT, F. B. "A NOTE ON SIX KINDS OF GENETIC HYPOTRICHOSIS IN CATTLE." Journal of Heredity (n.d.): 186-87. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
3. Dwarfism
Dwarfism is a result of abnormal cartilage formation or chondrodysplasia. There are varying degrees of dwarfism with some of the more well-known types being the snorter dwarf, the bulldog dwarf, and the long-headed dwarf. Dwarfism is controlled by various mechanisms in various breeds of cattle; however, the bulldog dwarf is most commonly associated with Dexter cattle and the ACAN gene mutation. Dwarfism, in general, is caused by early fusion of the growth plate; however, the exact mechanism for the bulldog dwarf is unknown. The bulldog dwarf (pictured above) is the result of inheriting one copy of the mutated gene (Rr-heterozygous) and is characterized by reduced limb length, while the homozygous fetus (rr-two mutated copies) is generally aborted during the third trimester of gestation. This mode of inheritance is referred to as autosomal recessive and the severity of the phenotype of the heterozygote is affected by incomplete penetrance. FUN FACT: The heterozygous mutant is actually the highly sought after "miniature cattle" phenotype.
Cavanagh, J.A.L., Tammen, I., Windsor, P.A. et al. Mamm Genome (2007) 18: 808. doi:10.1007/s00335-007-9066-9
Arsdall, Dan Van. "Dwarfism (Condrodysplasia)." Calfology. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
4. Developmental Duplications/Polymelia
Polymelia (pictured above) is just one of several forms of a genetic disorder referred to as Developmental Duplications (DD). In general, developmental duplications are deformities in the physical appearance of the animal from having an extra limb to having a conjoined twin, but in some cases it can be embryonically lethal. DD is an autosomal recessive mutation that is beginning to appear more frequently in Angus or Angus derived calves. Dr. Jonathan Beever, from the University of Illinois, was able to trace the mutation back to a single amino acid substitution. It is believed that this gene is important in cell to cell signaling during neurulation. In polymelia, for instance, there is a failure to communicate between the lateral mesoderm and the apical ectodermal ridge (AER). This intercellular communication is necessary for the primordial limb buds to regress like they are supposed to do. Consequently, this lack of signaling leads to the persistence of the limb buds and the formation of extra limbs.
Denholm, Laurence, Dr, Lisa Martin, and Andrew Denman. "POLYMELIA (SUPERNUMERARY LIMBS) IN ANGUS CALVES." Flock and Herd. N.p., Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Denholm, Laurence, Dr, and Lisa Martin. "DEVELOPMENTAL DUPLICATIONS (DD) IN ANGUS CALVES." Flock and Herd. N.p., 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

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