Penn State Dairy Cattle Geneticist Finds Mutant Gene Threatening Holstein Calves


In the fall of 2020, when Chad Dechow got a call from veterinarians in New York describing a strange condition affecting Holstein calves on two farms under their care, he was unfamiliar with the condition that came to be known as calf recumbency.

The animals were weak and couldn’t stand at birth or shortly after, and most did not survive beyond six weeks of age. The vets did not detect any neurologic, infectious or metabolic abnormalities in the very young animals. It was a mystery.

“They couldn’t figure it out — they had necropsied calves that died and couldn’t find anything wr...

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