Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station Research Bulletin


An understanding of the inheritance of coat coloration and white markings in cattle is useful for several reasons. The first is its potential usefulness in the teaching of Mendelian principles to agricultural students. A second would be its usefulness in the development of composite breeds of cattle in which a uniform coat coloration may be desirable. A third is that there may be interest in determining which breeds could be used in crossbreeding programs to produce uniformly colored terminal cross calves. Also, Lauvergne (1966) discussed a review article by J. D. Findlay where it is concluded that pigmentation can affect the productive performance of animals under certain conditions such as in the tropics where animals with darkly pigmented skins and light-colored coats seem best adapted. Finally, animals without pigmented eyelids seem more susceptible to "cancer eye” (Anderson et al., 1957).

The inheritance of coat coloration and white spotting in cattle has been studied by many scientists since the beginning o f this century. Ibsen (1933) provided a summary of the segregating loci that had been reported and postulated others. Lauvergne (1966) produced an excellent summary of the existing information, but his summary is not readily useful in the United States, primarily because it is published in the French language. This publication will draw upon the conclusions of Lauvergne and modify and expand them.



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