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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Myostatin and its implications on animal breeding: a review.

Myostatin, or growth and differentiation factor 8 (GDF8), has been identified as the factor causing a phenotype known as double muscling, in which a series of mutations render the gene inactive, and therefore, unable to regulate muscle fibre deposition. This phenotype occurs at a high frequency in some breeds of cattle such as Belgian Blue and Peidmontese. Phylogenetic analysis has shown that there has been positive selection pressure for non-synonymous mutations within the myostatin gene family, around the time of the divergence of cattle, sheep and goats, and these positive selective pressures on non-ancestral myostatin are relatively recent. To date, there have been reports of nine mutations in coding regions of myostatin that cause non-synonymous changes, of which three cause missense mutations, including two in exon 1 and one in exon 2. The remaining six mutations, located in exons 2 and 3, result in premature stop codons, which are the mutations responsible for the double-muscling phenotype. Unfortunately, breed management problems exist for double-muscled cattle, such as birthing difficulties, which can be overcome through genetically controlled breeding programmes, as shown in this review.[1]


  1. Myostatin and its implications on animal breeding: a review. Bellinge, R.H., Liberles, D.A., Iaschi, S.P., O'brien, P.A., Tay, G.K. Anim. Genet. (2005) [Pubmed]
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