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Genetic Conditions Descriptions

  • Arthrogyrposis Multiplex (AM) aka curly calf


    Known as “Curly Calf Syndrome,” AM results in stillborn calves small in size with diminished muscling, bent limbs, and twisted spines.

    Recessive, lethal, affecting Angus and Angus-influenced cattle.

  • Contractual Arachnodactyly (CA)

    Also known as fawn calf syndrome, the disorder affects the connective tissue of muscles, leading to contraction of the upper limb (most obvious in the hind limbs), and looseness of the joints of the lower limbs.

    Recessive, not lethal, Angus and Angus-influenced cattle.


  • Development Duplication (DD)


    Affected calves frequently (but not always) develop extra body parts, often limbs (most commonly, extra front legs), a condition called polymelia. Some animals with two copies of DD may have no outward sign of this trait.

    Recessive, not lethal, Angus and Angus-influenced cattle.

  • Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH)

    Also called “water head,” affected calves are born dead with an extremely large cranium, with little or no brain material or spinal cord. Recessive, lethal, affecting Angus and Angus-influenced cattle.

  • Osteopetrosis (OS) aka marble bone

    Known as marble-bone, affected calves are frequently aborted 10 to 30 days early with short lower jaw and missing bone marrow.

    Recessive, lethal, Red Angus- and some Angus-derived cattle.

  • Pulmonary Hypoplasia with Anasarca (PHA)


    PHA-affected calves are born dead with underdeveloped lungs (pulmonary hypoplasia) and swelling caused by excessive fluid retention (anasarca).

    Recessive, lethal, Shorthorn-, Maine-Anjou-,Chianina-, and Dexter-derived cattle.

  • Tibial hemimelia (TH)

    Calves are born with severe deformities including twisted rear legs (possibly missing part or all of bones), with fused joints, large abdominal hernias and/or skull deformities.

    Recessive, lethal (sometimes live at birth but unable to survive long), Shorthorn-, Maine-Anjou-, and Chianina-derived cattle.


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Down to the Genes Series

Photo credit: Southern Cattle Company

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