Animal Science, Department of



Stephen D. Kachman

Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Anim. Sci. 2013.91:3051–3058; doi:10.2527/jas2012-6180


Copyright 2013 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission


Extreme heat and cold events can create deleterious physiological changes in cattle as they attempt to cope. The genetic background of animals can influence their response to these events. The objective of the current study was to determine the impact of myostatin genotype (MG) on body temperature during periods of heat and cold stress. Two groups of crossbred steers and heifers of unknown pedigree and breed fraction with varying percentages of Angus, Simmental, and Piedmontese were placed in a feedlot over 2 summers and 2 winters. Before arrival, animals were genotyped for the Piedmontese-derived myostatin mutation (C313Y) to determine their MG as either homozygous normal (0 copy; n = 84), heterozygous (1 copy; n = 96), or homozygous for inactive myostatin (2 copy; n = 59). Hourly tympanic and vaginal temperature measurements were collected for steers and heifers, respectively, for 5 d during times of anticipated heat and cold stress. Mean (±SD) ambient temperature for summer and winter stress events were 24.4 (±4.64) and –1.80 (±11.71), respectively. A trigonometric function (sine + cosine) with periods of 12 and 24 h was used to describe the diurnal cyclical pattern. Hourly body temperature was analyzed within a season, and fixed effects included MG, group, trigonometric functions nested within group, and interaction of MG with trigonometric functions nested within group; random effects were animal and residual (Model [I]). A combined analysis of season and group was also investigated with the inclusion of season as a main effect and the nesting of effects within both group and season (Model [C]). In both models, the residual was fitted using an autoregressive covariance structure. A 3-way interaction of MG, season, and trigonometric function periodicities of 24 h (P < 0.001) and 12 h (P < 0.02) for Model [C] indicate that a genotype × environment interaction exists for MG. For MG during summer stress events the additive estimate was 0.10°C (P < 0.01) and dominance estimate was –0.12°C (P < 0.001). During winter stress events the additive estimate was 0.10°C (P < 0.001) and dominance estimate was 0.054°C (P > 0.05). The current study illustrated that a genotype × environment interaction exists for MG and 1-copy animals were more robust to environmental extremes in comparison with 0- or 2-copy animals.