Identification of genes responsible for hereditary diseases in Japanese beef cattle

Tetsuo Kunieda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In the breeding of domestic animals, selection of economically desired traits has been the most important consideration for the improvement of animals, but excluding negative factors in animal production, such as causative genes for hereditary diseases, is also required for the genetic improvement of domestic animals. The incidence of various hereditary diseases has been reported in Japanese beef cattle and these diseases have caused serious problems in the breeding and raising of healthy beef cattle. This article reviews the identification of causative genes for the following three hereditary diseases in Japanese beef cattle: (i) Chediak-Higashi syndrome; (ii) renal tubular dysplasia; and (iii) bovine chondrodysplastic dwarfism. Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a hereditary bleeding disorder reported in Japanese black cattle. To identify the cause of this disease, we cloned and sequenced the bovine LYST gene, which has been found to be involved in Chediak-Higashi syndrome in humans, and found that an amino acid substitution of histidine to arginine at amino acid residue 2015 is the causative mutation in the cattle disease. Renal tubular dysplasia is a hereditary disease of Japanese black cattle showing renal failure and growth retardation. We mapped the locus for this disease to the 4 cM region of bovine chromosome 1 by linkage analysis and found a large deletion in this region. The deleted region contained the PCLN1 gene encoding a tight-junction protein of renal epithelial cells, and we concluded that deletion of the PCLN1 gene is responsible for the disease. Bovine chondrodysplastic dwarfism is a hereditary disease of Japanese brown cattle, displayed by short limbs and joint abnormalities. We mapped the locus for the disease to a region of bovine chromosome 6 by linkage analysis. By constructing YAC and BAC contigs covering this region and sequence analysis, we identified a novel gene (LIMBIN), which plays an essential role in bone formation in this region, and found two mutations responsible for the disease. The identification of these mutations provided the basis for DNA-based diagnostic systems for these three diseases, and after development of the diagnosis systems, the incidences of these hereditary diseases have dramatically decreased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Science Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Breeding
  • DNA diagnosis
  • Hereditary disease
  • Japanese beef cattle
  • Mutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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