Genetic Variability in Measures of Beef Cattle Immune Response

Janeen L. Salak, John J. McGlone, Julie L. Morrow, Robert J. Hurst, Ronnie D. Green


The objective of this study was to determine if a relationship could be found between dam and offspring immune measures. A secondary objective was to determine the relationship between dam's performance (expected progeny difference, EPD) and her immune measures. The regression between dam and offspring was significant for number of white blood cells, indicating selection for this trait would be productive. White blood cell numbers were positively correlated with maternal EPD for birth weight (r = .34), weaning weight (r = .36) and yearling weight (r = .38). Number of peripheral lymphocytes was also correlated with maternal EPD for birth weight (r = .40),weaning weight (r = .37) and yearling weight (r = .38). These data indicate that selection for leukocyte numbers would be successful and that these traits are favorably correlated with measures of growth.


beef cattle; immune response; genetics

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