Mood affecting genes in cattle and humans

Genes linking temperament in cattle and autism in humans have been discovered by researchers in Australia.

The team searched through over 28 million data points searching for variants in DNA between cattle, and found that many of the differences were also present in humans with autism spectrum disorders.

Understanding the temperament of cattle is an important tool in animal welfare as it can reduce the stress levels of the herd, and also improves meat quality and the safety of their handlers.

“The research doesn’t mean that cattle have autism; rather that cattle share an overlap of genes with humans which are critical in brain function and response to fear stimuli,”

said lead author Professor Ben Haynes of the University of Queensland, Australia.

The team plan to incorporate these genes into selective breeding programs in the future.

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