Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


McGill researcher looks at the genetics behind cheese


Does Swiss cheese come from Swiss cows? How about blue cheese? Professor of animal science at McGill’s Macdonald campus K.F. Ng-Kwai-Hang has the answer to these questions. He has spent the last 25 years studying the genetics of cows and how this affects quality and type of cheese.

"There are more than 100 different breeds of cows. However, the best milk producers are Holsteins," says Ng-Kwai-Hang. "Within a specific breed, the milk these cows produce is not the same - it differs in its fat, protein and lactose (a type of sugar found only in milk) content. Consequently, the cheese made from this milk will also differ in its composition and the taste will be affected. Basically, cheddar cheese can be made from all milk, but the taste and quality will be different from breed to breed and also within a breed. "By looking at the genetic profile of cows, we are able to predict which one will produce the best cheese."

Ng has identified the role of specific milk protein genes that affect cheese yield, composition and quality. He and his research team have found that small changes or mutations in the DNA of certain genes lead to changes in the protein which results in dramatic changes in the cheese. Their findings show that a mutation in the particular protein, the kappa-casein, is associated with a higher yield of cheese and one which is better quality.

According to Ng, in addition to the two genetic variants for kappa casein mentioned above, there are about 50 known milk protein gene variants and they have diverse effects on dairy product production. These findings have generated a great interest in the dairy industry. Attempts are underway in some countries to breed for specific genetic variants.

"Because the genetic variants are inherited according to simple Mendelian rules, it is possible to breed for specific variants," says Ng. "We are seeing this already where breeding programs are in place to increase the frequency of the B type of kappa-casein in cow populations in order to improve the milk quality and its cheese making characteristics. We are at the forefront of what is possible and can look forward to more efficient cheese production and better quality cheese."

Christine Zeindler | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders
24.10.2016 | Baylor College of Medicine

nachricht New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground
24.10.2016 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>