BEEF CATTLE BREEDING:
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Roy T. Berg, Professor Emeritus
University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta
I posted this excerpt on a discussion concerning chondrodysplasia testing and thought it might be of interest here. Particularly to those interested in how associations dealt with this in days before dna testing.
"Dwarfism had reached a level of serious concern by 1955, particularly in the Hereford breed which was the dominant beef breed in Alberta at that time. There was pressure on me as a budding geneticist to help solve the Dwarfism problem. My approach was not popular. I felt that Dwarfism was caused by what breeders had been doing, not by any act of God or disease. The most likely cause was the emphasis, particularly in the Show Ring, on a "Compact" type characterized by short legs, short and thick body accompanied by very slow growth rate and reduced body size. The Hereford breed elected to go on a pedigree "Witch Hunt" purging those with any relationship to a Dwarf in five generations. I believe vestiges of this witch hunt still exist, although the prevalence of dwarfism has long passed. Reversing the selection basis to an emphasis on growth rate and size eliminated the "compact" animal which was the prime source (as a heterozygote) of the Dwarfism gene."