Relation between αS1-casein, genotype, and quality traits of milk from Swedish dairy goats

J Dairy Sci. 2023 Aug;106(8):5582-5592. doi: 10.3168/jds.2022-22857. Epub 2023 Jul 4.


Locally produced food is becoming popular among Swedish consumers. One product that has increased in popularity is artisan-manufactured goat cheese, and although the dairy goat industry in Sweden is small-scale, production is gradually increasing. In goats, the CSN1S1 gene regulates expression of the protein αS1-casein (αS1-CN), which has been found to be important for cheese yield. Over the years, breeding animals have been imported to Sweden from Norway. Historically, a high frequency of the Norwegian goat population carried a polymorphism at the CSN1S1 gene. This polymorphism, called the Norwegian null allele (D), leads to zero or significantly reduced expression of αS1-CN. Using milk samples from 75 goats, this study investigated associations between expression of αS1-CN and genotype at the CSN1S1 gene on milk quality traits from Swedish Landrace goats. Milk samples were grouped according to relative level of αS1-CN (low: 0-6.9% of total protein; medium-high: 7-25% of total protein) and genotype (DD, DG, DA/AG/AA). While the D allele leads to extremely low expression of αS1-CN, the G allele is low expressing and the A allele is highly expressing for this protein. Principal component analysis was used to explore the total variation in milk quality traits. To evaluate the effect of different allele groups on milk quality attributes, 1-way ANOVA and Tukey pairwise comparison tests were used. The majority (72%) of all goat milk samples investigated showed relative αS1-CN content of 0% to 6.82% of total protein. The frequency of individuals homozygous for the Norwegian null allele (DD) was 59% in the population of sampled goats, and only 15% carried at least one A allele. A low relative concentration of αS1-CN was associated with lower total protein, higher pH, and higher relative concentration of β-casein and levels of free fatty acids. Milk from goats homozygous for the null allele (DD) showed a similar pattern as milk with low relative concentration of αS1-CN, but total protein was only numerically lower, and somatic cell count and αS2-CN were higher than for the other genotypes. The associations between levels of αS1-CN and the investigated genotype at the CSN1S1 gene indicate a need for a national breeding program for Swedish dairy goats.

Keywords: Swedish Landrace goat; goat milk quality traits; levels of α(S1)-CN in milk; null allele; α(S1)-CN polymorphism.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Caseins* / analysis
  • Genotype
  • Goats / genetics
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Milk* / chemistry
  • Sweden


  • Caseins
  • Allergens
  • Milk Proteins