The mh gene causing double-muscling in cattle maps to bovine Chromosome 2

Mamm Genome. 1995 Nov;6(11):788-92. doi: 10.1007/BF00539005.


While the hereditary nature of the "double-muscling" phenotype (a generalized muscular hypertrophy documented in several cattle breeds) is well established, its precise segregation mode has remained controversial. Both monogenic models (autosomal dominant or recessive) and oligogenic models have been proposed. Using a panel of 213 bovine microsatellite markers, and an experimental pedigree obtained by backing "double-muscled (Belgian Blue) x conventional (Friesian)"1 dams to double-muscle sire, we have mapped a locus on bovine Chromosome (CHr) 2 that accounts for all the phenotypic variance in the backcross generation. This locus, referred to as mh (muscular hypertrophy), has been positioned with respects to a map composed of seven Chr 2-specific microsatellites, at 2 cM from the closet marker. This result confirms the validity in the Belgian Blue population of the monogenic model involving an autosomal mh locus, characterized by a wild-type "+" and a recessive "mh" allele, causing the double-muscling phenotype in the homozygous condition. The linkage relationship between the mh locus and the Chr 2 markers was confirmed in three informative pedigrees collected from the general Belgian Blue Cattle population, reinforcing the notice of genetic homogeneity of the double-muscling trait in this breed. This work paves the way towards marker-assisted selection for or against the double muscling trait, and towards positional cloning of the corresponding gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / abnormalities
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Female
  • Hypertrophy / genetics
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Muscles / abnormalities*
  • Pedigree