An animal’s genetic information is in the form of chromosomes, housed within the nucleus of every cell. Dairy cattle have 30 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 60. Chromosomes are made up of many strands of DNA. Genes, the basic unit of inheritance are specific portions of a cell’s DNA. Each gene codes for a specific trait, such as polled verse horned animals.
In the factsheet Genetics for the Everyday Dairy Herd, UW-Extension Dodge County Dairy & Livestock Agent Amanda Young describes gene expression, genetic progress, and tradeoffs among the elements of genetic change.
For more information regarding dairy reproduction and genetics, visit UW-Extension Dairy Reproduction & Genetics.