Genetics Australia

Neuropathic Hydrocephalus

& the Impact on the Beef Cattle Industry

Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH) is a lethal genetic condition caused by a recessive mutation that affects Angus and Angus-influenced cattle. Affected calves are born dead with an extremely large cranium with little or no brain material or spinal cord. It is probable that a large percentage of mortalities relating to NH occur through embryonic or fetal loss during gestation, which causes the defect to go misdiagnosed or unnoticed.

The genetic condition has been traced back to GAR Precision 1680, a highly influencial Angus sire.1 The Arthrogryposis Multiplex (AM) mutation has been traced back to this animal as well.

A diagnostic test for NH developed by Dr. Jon Beever at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Dr. David Steffen at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the American Angus Association, is now available commercially through Zoetis Genetics.

For more information about NH and the importance of testing suspect animals, please review our NH Overview or our Frequently Asked Questions document.

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  • Testing of suspect animals is essential to avoid the negative impact of NH and slow proliferation of the recessive gene.

    Samples for testing may be submitted in one of the following forms:

    • Hair follicles: When sending hair samples, please make sure at least 25 follicles (bulb intact) are included to ensure an adequate volume of DNA to complete the test.
    • Blood collector cards
    • Semen samples
    • Whole blood samples in purple-topped tubes

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