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Hey Hereford76, what is the dilutor gene.......

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hometowngurl

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My hubby and I was reading your post about the dilutor gene. We have never heard of it, we have a few head of herefords at his dad's. We would like to know more. Thanks. :???: :???: :?
 

SMN Herf

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The diluter gene is a trait that causes gray calves when combined with Angus or other black cattle. It can be carried by either the bull or the cow. It became a problem several years ago and was associated with one particular line of cattle. These have pretty much all been eliminated within the Hereford industry at least by the breeders that are paying attention to what is going on.

The AHA is currently evaluating a test to test cattle for the diluter gene. I think results should be coming fairly soon.

I don' t really see this as that big of a deal. We are dealing with an EXTREMELY low number of cattle here.

SMN
 

Denny

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SMN Herf said:
The diluter gene is a trait that causes gray calves when combined with Angus or other black cattle. It can be carried by either the bull or the cow. It became a problem several years ago and was associated with one particular line of cattle. These have pretty much all been eliminated within the Hereford industry at least by the breeders that are paying attention to what is going on.

The AHA is currently evaluating a test to test cattle for the diluter gene. I think results should be coming fairly soon.

I don' t really see this as that big of a deal. We are dealing with an EXTREMELY low number of cattle here.

SMN

Way it sound's you should call it the simmental gene.
 

cypressfarms

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Diluter is also referred to cows such as charolais. They are white, for the most part, and when bred to a black bull they will dilute the black color, making a shade of gray. This same theory would hold true of mating a charolais to any other color. The main factor is that their coat color is neither dominant or recessive, it is a "diluter".

Kind of like using your kids finger paint; take some black color and put some white in and mix it up. You'll get some sort of gray. Some with other colors.
 

Horned Hereford

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SMN Herf said:
The diluter gene is a trait that causes gray calves when combined with Angus or other black cattle. It can be carried by either the bull or the cow. It became a problem several years ago and was associated with one particular line of cattle. These have pretty much all been eliminated within the Hereford industry at least by the breeders that are paying attention to what is going on.

The AHA is currently evaluating a test to test cattle for the diluter gene. I think results should be coming fairly soon.

I don' t really see this as that big of a deal. We are dealing with an EXTREMELY low number of cattle here.

SMN

I have also heard that there was some simmental in some herfs but what lines? Heard tex prime time is that right?
 

Hereford76

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I am not a genetisist and I don't know of anyone that can really answer all the questions in regards to the dilutor gene - I have spent over a decade trying to find the answers. All I know is that is it carried by black cattle, charolais, gelbvieh and some others and when crossed with another animal that carries the gene you can get a smokey calf that has typically been "dinged" by the cattle buyers (note - smokey calves are not be confused with rat tail calves as this is another gene all together). What is wrong with smokey calves? Nothing. It is just a mentality that has taken hold and another reason to "ding" a feeder calf mainly because I believe at one time feeders associated smokey calves with rat tail calves that are a problem in the feedlot.

The big question for me is are these genetics inherent to the Hereford breed. No one will answer this question 100% because no one knows and even if someone was willing to put the research involved into answering this question how practical are the end results. Since the scientists involved in the dilutor research cannot prove one way or the other if the genetics were always there or if they were introduced by another breed what would be the point of eliminating these cattle. There are strong cases either way. I personally haven't bought into the theory that this gene has always been a part of a Hereford because if there can be a strong case made that the dilutor gene was inherited by another breed and we are going to sort through these cattle and allow the non carrying dilutors to continue basically we are doing the same thing a couple of other british breeds did to get the genetics they have today. Research this, most of the suspect Hereford cattle have phenomenal growth traits, maternal traits, and carcass traits. Is it right? I don't know - it just boils down to your opinion on the subject and what you want to do as a breeder.

There are numerous lines of cattle that go back to a dilutor and the AHA does have a screening test to identify the dilutor carrying cattle. If you really research the Hereford cattle you will find that are some cattle that go back to about 4 individual animals that are either strong suspect dilutors or proven dilutors within the Hereford breed and from my own research it is more prevelant within the polled Hereford cattle as some of the foundation sires go back to a suspect dilutor (Does this mean the cattle are wrong - Not unless you say the same for a few other breeds and more importantly not until some one proves that the dilutor gene is not inherent to the Hereford breed). The dilutor test that was used to identify these suspect bulls is now being used to sort through their progeny to see if they carry the gene. The ones that don't have it and are clean still have the bloodlines but won't through a smokey calf no matter what they are bred to and it is gone forever. The ones that do carry the dilutor gene and can throw a smokey calf are still being sold as breeders and usually the purebred producer lays that on the table up front - example Courtney Hereford Sale (I believe that their sale was a good example of how to deal with the issue - lay it all on the table and let the commercial man decide).

The reason I don't fully buy into to the theory that the dilutor gene has always been a part of the Hereford breed comes from the fact that I have seen progeny of the suspect and some of the proven dilutor cattle and I feel I know when I am looking at an animal that has some simmental in him - some but not all really show simmental. Also, why is it that you cannot find any evidence of smokey calves prior to the exotic cattle coming here. If the dilutor gene was always there surely you would have heard about it prior the the 70's.

The only problem I see with leaving the door open on the dilutor gene within the Hereford breed is that it will always be a topic that producers will argue about. If we knew for sure whether or not the dilutor gene is inherent to the Hereford breed we could move on with integrity and it would not be an excuse for someone to not use Hereford cattle.

Hopefully, this is what will happen now that there is a test to screen the cattle. Atleat we have the ability to identify the cattle that carry the gene and we can choose to not to use them as breeding animals. I feel that eventually the dilutor cattle can be eliminated.

I will end this with one bit of advice. This is an issue that will probably never be answered 100% - so just come to your own conclusion and opinion on it and move on. There are far greater defects within every breed that pose much greater economical pitfalls than whether or not Hereford cattle are 100% pure. For example, Herefords have identified two genetic defects and the "black" breed has 7 genetic defects that some are proven to come for other breeds. I think we are blowing this topic way out of proportion and the beef industry from start to finish has a lot to gain through Hereford influence regardless of anyone's opinion on the dilutor gene.
 
A

Anonymous

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Feeding12-05.jpg


I don't know that much about the dilutor gene and how it got into Herefords- but I do know that the white color gene is strong...

The whites (greys) in this picture have less than 1/8 Charolais in them with the rest mostly black angus- possibly a little Hereford...

I've told this story before- Neighbor ran Charolais bulls for a few years back in the 70's and I ended up with some white calves- since the buyer cut them back, I kept the heifers thinking that if you bred to a black bull you would get black calves--Nope- white ones again...Which, being a bullheaded German, I had to keep some to just see how long it took before they became black again...I only have about a dozen left (all with an 1/8 Char or less) and now I get mostly black calves from them- but every year end up with a couple white or greys (which the last few years with the calf demand the buyers took in a second)...Once in a while the dominance of the hereford whiteface comes thru and they throw a grey baldy like the cow in right foreground......
 

Bill

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Hereford76 said:
I am not a genetisist and I don't know of anyone that can really answer all the questions in regards to the dilutor gene - I have spent over a decade trying to find the answers. All I know is that is it carried by black cattle, charolais, gelbvieh and some others and when crossed with another animal that carries the gene you can get a smokey calf that has typically been "dinged" by the cattle buyers (note - smokey calves are not be confused with rat tail calves as this is another gene all together). What is wrong with smokey calves? Nothing. It is just a mentality that has taken hold and another reason to "ding" a feeder calf mainly because I believe at one time feeders associated smokey calves with rat tail calves that are a problem in the feedlot.

The big question for me is are these genetics inherent to the Hereford breed. No one will answer this question 100% because no one knows and even if someone was willing to put the research involved into answering this question how practical are the end results. Since the scientists involved in the dilutor research cannot prove one way or the other if the genetics were always there or if they were introduced by another breed what would be the point of eliminating these cattle. There are strong cases either way. I personally haven't bought into the theory that this gene has always been a part of a Hereford because if there can be a strong case made that the dilutor gene was inherited by another breed and we are going to sort through these cattle and allow the non carrying dilutors to continue basically we are doing the same thing a couple of other british breeds did to get the genetics they have today. Research this, most of the suspect Hereford cattle have phenomenal growth traits, maternal traits, and carcass traits. Is it right? I don't know - it just boils down to your opinion on the subject and what you want to do as a breeder.

There are numerous lines of cattle that go back to a dilutor and the AHA does have a screening test to identify the dilutor carrying cattle. If you really research the Hereford cattle you will find that are some cattle that go back to about 4 individual animals that are either strong suspect dilutors or proven dilutors within the Hereford breed and from my own research it is more prevelant within the polled Hereford cattle as some of the foundation sires go back to a suspect dilutor (Does this mean the cattle are wrong - Not unless you say the same for a few other breeds and more importantly not until some one proves that the dilutor gene is not inherent to the Hereford breed). The dilutor test that was used to identify these suspect bulls is now being used to sort through their progeny to see if they carry the gene. The ones that don't have it and are clean still have the bloodlines but won't through a smokey calf no matter what they are bred to and it is gone forever. The ones that do carry the dilutor gene and can throw a smokey calf are still being sold as breeders and usually the purebred producer lays that on the table up front - example Courtney Hereford Sale (I believe that their sale was a good example of how to deal with the issue - lay it all on the table and let the commercial man decide).

The reason I don't fully buy into to the theory that the dilutor gene has always been a part of the Hereford breed comes from the fact that I have seen progeny of the suspect and some of the proven dilutor cattle and I feel I know when I am looking at an animal that has some simmental in him - some but not all really show simmental. Also, why is it that you cannot find any evidence of smokey calves prior to the exotic cattle coming here. If the dilutor gene was always there surely you would have heard about it prior the the 70's.

The only problem I see with leaving the door open on the dilutor gene within the Hereford breed is that it will always be a topic that producers will argue about. If we knew for sure whether or not the dilutor gene is inherent to the Hereford breed we could move on with integrity and it would not be an excuse for someone to not use Hereford cattle.

Hopefully, this is what will happen now that there is a test to screen the cattle. Atleat we have the ability to identify the cattle that carry the gene and we can choose to not to use them as breeding animals. I feel that eventually the dilutor cattle can be eliminated.

I will end this with one bit of advice. This is an issue that will probably never be answered 100% - so just come to your own conclusion and opinion on it and move on. There are far greater defects within every breed that pose much greater economical pitfalls than whether or not Hereford cattle are 100% pure. For example, Herefords have identified two genetic defects and the "black" breed has 7 genetic defects that some are proven to come for other breeds. I think we are blowing this topic way out of proportion and the beef industry from start to finish has a lot to gain through Hereford influence regardless of anyone's opinion on the dilutor gene.
One correction. Black cattle of any breed do not carry a diluter gene.
 

Northern Rancher

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I'm about 100 percent certain that 'PURE' Herefords don't carry the diluter gene-maybe it could be renamed the -'I'll try and sneak some simmental in gene' or just the 'DISHONEST' gene. Simmental and Gelbvieh etc naturally carry the diluter but Herefords got it added with some creative breeding throughgout the years. Just think of how a little shot of Simmental helped during the frame race in the 80's-let's see you got frame, more milk and hybrid vigour. The problem with the diluter gene in Herefords is that some very widely used bulls carried it-trust me if you run black cows and get grey calves from a Hereford you aren't buying any more bulls from that breeder.
 

txag

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Bill said:
One correction. Black cattle of any breed do not carry a diluter gene.

Correct. If the (black) animal carries the diluter, it's grey, not black.

Hereford76 said:
from my own research it is more prevelant within the polled Hereford cattle

The proven diluters have been horned.
 

Hereford76

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Some of the proven dilutors are horned yes. I was just saying that more of the polled cattle today have those proven horned dilutors back in their pedigree.
 

txag

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Hereford76 said:
more of the polled cattle today have those proven horned dilutors back in their pedigree.

which of those proven horned diluters are you saying are in more polled pedigrees?
 

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