Polymorphism of Growth Hormone GH1-AluI in Jersey Cows and Its Effect on Milk Yield and Composition

  • Dario, C. (Department of Health and Welfare of Animals, University of Studies of Bari- Italy) ;
  • Carnicella, D. (Department of Health and Welfare of Animals, University of Studies of Bari- Italy) ;
  • Ciotola, F. (University of Catanzaro “Magna Graecia”, Catanzaro -Italy) ;
  • Peretti, V. (Department of Animal Science and Food Inspection, University Federico II, Naples - Italy) ;
  • Bufano, G. (Department of Health and Welfare of Animals, University of Studies of Bari- Italy)
  • Received : 2006.10.04
  • Accepted : 2007.06.18
  • Published : 2008.01.01


To analyze genetic effects on milk production traits, 164 unrelated Italian Jersey cows reared in 15 farms located in Southern Italy were characterized at the growth hormone locus. Using a Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism protocol all three possible genotypes for the Leucine/Valine polymorphism were identified even if in the considered population the number of homozygous animals (Leucine/Leucine = 36; Valine/Valine = 28) was smaller than Leucine/Valine (n = 100) cows; the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was verified. Statistical analysis showed that daily milk yield in the Leucine/Leucine genotype was higher (p<0.01) than in Leucine/Valine (22.76 kg vs. 16.96 kg ); cows with Leucine/Valine genotype differed significantly from Leucine/Leucine and Valine/Valine genotypes particularly in fat (4.95% vs. 4.13% and 4.82%, respectively) and protein content (4.00% vs. 3.47% and 3.79%, respectively). No significant effect on lactation length was observed.


  1. Woychik, R. P., S. A. Camper, R. H. Lyons, S. Horovitz, E. C. Goodwin and F. M. Rottman. 1982. Cloning and nucleotide sequencing of the bovine growth hormone gene. Nucl. Acids Res. 10:7197-7210.
  2. Yao, J., S. E. Aggrey, D. Zadworny, J. F. Hayes, U. Kuhnlein. 1996. Sequence variations in the bovine growth hormone gene characterized by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis and their association with milk production traits in Holstein. Genetics 144:1809-1816.
  3. Van der Werf, J. H. J., F. J. Verburg and G. J. Garssen. 1996. Evidence for a strong effect of the Alu-I polymorphism in the growth hormone gene on yield characteristics in dairy cattle. Proc. 47th EAAP Lillehammer, Norway, 310.
  4. Vanderkooi, W. K., M. J. Vandehaar, B. K. Sharma, M. Binelli, H. A. Tucker, R. M. Akers and W. M. Moseley. 1995. Comparison of growth hormone-releasing factor and somatotropin: the somatotropic axis in lactating primiparous cows. J. Dairy Sci. 78:2140-2149.
  5. Vukasinovic, N., S. K. Denise and A. E. Freeman. 1999. Association of growth hormone loci with milk yield trait in Holstein bulls. J. Dairy Sci. 82:788-794.
  6. Sabour, M. P., C. Y. Lin and C. Smith. 1997. Association of genetic variants of bovine growth hormone with milk production traits in Holstein cattle. J. Anim. Breed. Genet. 114:435-442.
  7. SAS User's Guide Statistics, Version 8.0 Edition 1999. SAS Inst., Inc., Cary, NC.
  8. Schams, D., F. Graf, B. Graule, M. Abele and S. Prokopp. 1991. Hormonal changes during lactation in cows of three different breeds. Livest. Prod. Sci. 27:285-296.
  9. Schlee, P., R. Graml, O. Rottmann and F. Pirchner. 1994. Influence of growth hormone genotypes on breeding values of Simmental bulls. J. Anim. Breed. Genet. 111:253-256.
  10. Lucy, M. C., S. D. Hauser, P. J. Eppard, G. G. Krivi, J. H. Clark, D. E. Bauman and R. J. Collier. 1993. Variants of somatotropin in cattle: gene frequencies in major dairy breeds and associated milk production. Dom. Anim. Endocrin. 10:325-333.
  11. Lucy, M. C., S. D. Hauser, P. J. Eppard, G. G. Krivi and R. J. Collier. 1991. Genetic polymorphism within the bovine somatotropin (bST) gene detected by polymerase chain reaction and endonuclease digestion. J. Dairy Sci. 74(1):284.
  12. Reis, C., D. Navas, M. Pereira and A. Cravador. 2001. Growth hormone AluI polymorphism analysis in eight Portuguese bovine breeds. Arch. Zootec. 50:41-48.
  13. Eppard, P. J., L. A. Bentle, B. N. Violand, S. Ganguli, R. L. Hintz, L. Kung, G. G. Krivi and G. M. Lanza. 1992. Comparison of the galactopoietic response to pituitary-derived and recombinant-derived variants of bovine growth hormone. J. Endocrin. 132:47-56.
  14. Falconer, D. S. and T. F. C. Mackay. 1996. Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, 4th ed. Longman Group Ltd., Essex, UK.
  15. Haley, C. S. 1995. Livestock QTLs - Bringing home the bacon? Trends Genetics 11:488-492.
  16. Chou, K. C. and C. Zheng. 1992. Strong electrostatic loop-helix interaction in bundle motif protein structures. Biophys. J. 63: 682-688
  17. Dario, C., D. Carnicella and G. Bufano. 2005. A note on the growth hormone (GH1-AluI) polymorphism in Podolian cattles in Southern Italy. Anim. Sci. Pap. Rep. 23(1):43-49
  18. Abdel-Meguid, S. S., H. S. Shieh, W. W. Smith, H. E. Dayringer, B. N. Violand and B. A. Bentle. 1987. Three-dimensional structure of a genetically engineered variant of porcine growth hormone. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 84:6434-6437.
  19. Aston, R., D. A. Rathjen, A. T. Holder, V. Bender, T. E. Trigg, K. Cowan, J. S. Edwards and W. B. Cowden. 1991. Antigenic structure of bovine growth hormone: Location of a growth enhancing region. Molec. Immun. 28:41-45.
  20. Dybus, A. 2002. Associations between Leu/Val polymorphism of growth hormone gene and milk production traits in Black-and- White cattle. Arch. Tierz. Dummerstorf 45(5):421-428
  21. Loevendahl, P. 2004. Polymorphism of the somatotropic axis genes in cattle: physiology and productivity. Anim. Sci. Pap. Rep. 22(1):101-108.
  22. Sorensen, P., R. Grochowska, L. Holm, M. Henryon and P. Lovendahl. 2002. Polymorphism in the bovine growth hormone gene affects endocrine release in dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci. 85:1887-1893.

Cited by

  1. Polymorphisms in growth hormone gene and their associations with calf weight in Japanese Black cattle vol.81, pp.6, 2010,
  2. Bovine growth hormone gene polymorphism affects stress response in Japanese Black cattle vol.85, pp.6, 2014,