[Review of literature and results from test matings of East Friesian milk sheep affected with brachygnathia inferior]

Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2008 Jul-Aug;121(7-8):292-305.
[Article in German]


Shortness of the lower jaw (brachygnathia inferior, underbite, overshot, parrot mouth) is an inborn and mostly hereditary malformation often seen in many sheep breeds. Chromosomal anomalies are generally not involved in brachygnathia inferior. Viral infections, teratogenic drugs and alkaloids of plants often lead to craniofacial malformations associated with brachygnathia inferior. A maternal deficiency of iron is discussed as a cause for brachygnathia inferior. We performed a three-year breeding trial using mainly East Friesian milk sheep affected by brachygnathic occlusion. Mating schemes included affected by affected and affected by unaffected matings. In the breeding trial, 60 lambs were born and from these 37 animals had variable degrees of brachygnathia inferior. The brachygnathic condition increased with rising age of the lambs. Extremely affected lambs showed palatine ulcers and growth retardation. Moreover, some animals had abnormal positions of the incisor teeth, distortion of the lower jaw and deformities of the external ear. Analysis of the pedigree did not support a monogenic inheritance pattern. An oligogenic inheritance including a dominant and recessive locus responsible for the major gene effects and possibly further modifying loci appeared much more likely. Other causes for brachygnathia inferior such as viral infections and anemia of the ewes could be ruled out. Chromosomal abnormalities were not evident and thus, large chromosomal defects were not associated with brachygnathia inferior.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Inbreeding
  • Jaw Abnormalities / genetics*
  • Jaw Abnormalities / pathology
  • Male
  • Retrognathia / genetics
  • Retrognathia / pathology
  • Retrognathia / veterinary*
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / genetics*
  • Sheep Diseases / pathology