Genetics Canada


The Impact on the Beef Industry

Osteopetrosis (OS) is a lethal disorder linked to a genetic condition caused by a recessive mutation that affects Red Angus cattle. Affected calves are most often born 10 – 30 days premature and dead; those born alive will live for less than 24 hours and have a short lower jaw and impacted molars. The long bones on the affected calves are fragile and can be broken with ease. The gene is inherited as a simple recessive.

Zoetis Genetics is now offering a diagnostic test for the genetic condition Osteopetrosis (OS). The gene mutation responsible for OS has been identified and a diagnostic test has been developed and validated in collaboration with Dr. Jon Beever at the University of Illinois and the following organizations: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Wyoming, University of Maryland, U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Red Angus Association of America (RAAA). Additionally, Zoetis Genetics has been approved by the RAAA as an official OS testing laboratory.

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  • Testing for OS Testing of suspect animals is essential to avoid the negative impact of OS 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