Issue 4

Journal for Veterinary Medicine, Biotechnology and Biosafety

Volume 1, Issue 4, December 2015, Pages 22–27

ISSN 2411-3174 (print version) ISSN 2411-0388 (online version)

Genetics of resistance to clinical mastitis in cows: A review

Fedota O. M. 1,2, Ruban S. Yu. 3, Bolotin V. I. 2, Klochko I. O. 2

1 V. N. Karazin Kharkov National University, Kharkiv, Ukraine, e-mail:

2 National Scientific Center ‘Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine’, Kharkiv, Ukraine

3 M. V. Zubets Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics of NAAS, Chubynske, Ukraine

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Citation for print version: Fedota, O. M., Ruban, S. Yu., Bolotin, V. I. and Klochko, I. O. (2015) ‘Genetics of resistance to clinical mastitis in cows: A review’, Journal for Veterinary Medicine, Biotechnology and Biosafety, 1(4), pp. 22–27.

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Citation for online version: Fedota, O. M., Ruban, S. Yu., Bolotin, V. I. and Klochko, I. O. (2015) ‘Genetics of resistance to clinical mastitis in cows: A review’, Journal for Veterinary Medicine, Biotechnology and Biosafety. [Online] 1(4), pp. 22–27. Available at:

Summary. The article provides an overview of data about genetics of cattle and susceptibility to infectious diseases by the example of clinical mastitis. The problems of the genetic markers associated with mastitis susceptibility of cattle in studies of scientists from different countries are analyzed. Clinical mastitis (CM) is an inflammation of the mammary gland associated with elevated somatic cell count (SCC) and is one of the biggest problems affecting commercial milk production. In the world literature the problems of mastitis etiology were discussed and it was noted that many factors promote the development of mastitis, including the genetic background and feeding environment. The unfavorable genetic correlations between milk production and clinical mastitis are well known. The complexity of mastitis infection suggests a polygenic and multi-factorial immune response comprising many different proteins. Most studies focused on polygenic variation of the trait and genetic correlation among phenotypic traits related to mastitis such as somatic cell counts and clinical cases. At the present time, the role of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC genes) in the susceptibility or resistance to intrammamary infection is well studied. Researchers have shown that investigation of genetic markers associated with mastitis susceptibility, provide initial evidence for a phenotypic association between a single nucleotide polymorphisms of CXCR2, CD18, MBL1, TLR1, TLR2, CARD15, HMGB1, ATP1A1, BoLADQA1 genes and somatic cell counts and clinical manifestations in dairy cows, as well as potential insight into specific mechanisms affected in cows more susceptible to mastitis. According researchers currently identified differences between breeds. Dairy breeds originating from eastern France (Montbéliarde, Abondance) or central Europe (Simmental, Brown Swiss) have lower SCC and clinical mastitis frequency than Holstein. Within breed, genetic variability is also quite large. Because the disease susceptibility may be genetically dependent, in which case disease resistance could be improved by animal selection through breeding programmes. The most economical method of reducing SCC in Ukraine, based on the experience of other countries, including in our opinion, is testing monthly milk samples from each cow after the selection of genes for mastitis resistance.

Keywords: clinical mastitis, somatic cell count, genetic markers, mastitis susceptibility, mastitis resistance, dairy breeds


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