The World Guernsey Cattle Federation, The Hollyhocks, 10 Clos des Goddards, Rue des Goddards, Castel, Guernsey GY5 7JD, Channel Islands
Tel: +44 1481 257376, E-mail: [email protected]

World Guernsey Cattle Federation Secretary's Page

Bill Luff welcomes you to the World Guernsey Cattle Federation Secretary's Page.

Dear Guernsey Breeders,

This page contains downloads and direct links to matters that may be of importance to the Guernsey Breed and Dairy Farming and Agriculture in General.  I try to present an unbiased picture of what is happening.

To access these files you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader

Topics of Interest  


IT'S A BULLS MARKET - Direct link by permission to Science Abstract   Full Text


GENOME-WIDE SURVEY of SNP Variation Uncovers the Genetic Structure of Cattle Breeds-The Bovine HapMap Consortium   Direct link by permission to Science  Abstract   Full Text


Gene2Farm - Next generation European system for cattle improvement and management


The Gene2Farm project will address the needs of the cattle industry, in particular the SMEs and end users needs for an accessible, robust, adaptable and reliable system to apply the new knowledge of the bovine genome to genetic improvement in cattle, to underpin sustainability and profitability of European cattle farming.
The project general objectives are:

  • to derive complete genome information to understand genome structure and to design high and low density genotyping panels.
  • to develop the tools to impute higher density genome information from lower density genotype data and to make exchange information easier.
  • to address the needs for measuring a wider range of biological variables underlying important commercial traits, in order to provide data on additional important traits for use in selection.
  • to develop appropriate statistical models and applications for using the genomic and phenotypic information in order to optimise and customise genetic selection strategies.
  • to disseminate the information to the SMEs, the wider cattle breeding industry and to end users.


The Gene2Farm project will address the needs of the cattle industry, in particular of the SMEs and end users, for an accessible, adaptable and reliable system to apply the new genomic knowledge to underpin sustainability and profitability of European cattle farming. Gene2Farm will undertake a comprehensive programme of work from statistical theory development, through genome sequencing, to address new phenotyping approaches and the construction of tools, that will be validated in conjunction with SMEs and industry partners. Advanced statistical theory and applications will use the genomic and phenotypic information to optimise and customise genomic selection, breeding and population management and between breed predictions. The project will sequence key animals and exchange data with other international projects to create the most comprehensive bovine genome sequence database. Detailed analysis of these genome sequences will define genome structure, shared alleles, frequencies and historic haplotypes, within and between populations. This information will be used to optimise the informativeness of SNP panels and select SNPs to tag haplotypes, and hence ensure that genotype information can be used within and between breeds. The project will explore the opportunities for extended phenotypic collection, including the use of automated on farm systems and will develop standardisation protocols that, in consultation with ICAR, could be used by the industry for data collection and management. Developed tools will be tested and validated by demonstration in collaboration with dairy, dual purpose, beef and minority breed organisations. Finally a dissemination programme will ensure that training needs of the industry are served from an entry level training programme for farmers to advanced summer schools for the SMEs and expert user community.

Visit the G2F Website


Among the unique qualities of Guernsey Milk is the presence of the protein Beta-Casein A2 in the milk of approximately 96% of Guernseys as opposed to most other European breeds which carry a predominance of Beta-Casein A1. Guernsey cows can test A1/A1 or A1/A2 but the vast majority are A2/A2 cows.

Professor Keith Woodford has raised the global profile of the potential benefits of A2 milk through his book 'Devil in the Milk'. This very well researched book brought public attention to a possible link between milk containing A1 beta-casein and a range of serious illnesses, including heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia.

'Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health' is a very clearly written paper by three Polish scientists. The European Food Safety Authority produced a report, 'Review of the potential health impact of ß-casomorphins and related peptides' (summary only published in GW) in which it found that 'a cause-effect relationship between the oral intake of BCM7 or related peptides and aetiology or cause of any suggested non-communicable diseases cannot be established.'

However, the argument most strongly advanced by the proponents of the benefits of A2 Milk is not that A1 Milk causes these illnesses but rather that A1 milk is digested in a different way to A2 resulting in the release of a peptide or protein fragment called Beta-Casomorphin-7 (BCM7). If this gets through the gut and into the blood of genetically susceptible people it can have a detrimental effect by exacerbating underlying problems.

There is an ongoing debate about how compelling the present evidence is, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some people who thought that they were lactose intolerant may be intolerant to A1 milk through the release of BCM7. There is further anecdotal evidence that some autistic people benefit from A2 milk. Unfortunately most of the trials carried out so far have failed to meet strict scientific standards, notably the double-blind discipline. However, the International Journal Peptides recently published a paper by Kost NV et al. (see link to this paper below) who were able to isolate BCM7 in the blood of children that were fed formula milk. They also discovered that some of the children excreted BCM7 quite quickly while others did not. The children who failed to excrete it rapidly tended to exhibit delayed development. Specifically, the paper compared 37 breastfed babies with 53 fed with formula containing cow's milk. The researchers found only one case of developmental delay in the breast-fed group compared with 16 in the other group. More research is needed but this seems to be a significant development.

Currently the largest volume of A2 milk sales is in Australia where over10 million litres were sold in the last reported year of trading by the A2 Corporation. Other countries have small internal markets for A2 milk and some Guernsey herds are benefiting from specific sales.

It may be many years before sufficient evidence of an acceptable scientific standard is available to confirm or discredit the A1/A2 hypothesis, mainly because of the scale, expense and difficulty of conducting meaningful trials, but many respected scientists are of the opinion that such research is merited. In the meantime consumers have a choice, they can switch to A2 milk if they find that it helps them. Guernsey breeders too have a choice. If they think that A2 could be important to their future profitability they can switch to using only A2/A2 bulls.  WL Feb. 2010

Download some relevant papers in .pdf or follow links:

Interview with Professor Keith Woodford by permission Acres USA (pdf)  

A1 Beta-casein, Type 1 Diabetes and Links to other Modern Illnesses - Professor Keith Woodford (pdf) 

LINK TO A1 and A2 Posts by Professor Keith Woodford 

LINK TO Kost NV,et al.-Beta-casomorphins-7 in infants on different types of feeding and different levels of psycomotor development . Peptides 2009 Oct; 30(10):1854-60     

Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health (pdf)  

Scientific Report of the European Food Safety Authority (pdf)

LINK TO paper by Prof Boyd Swinburn for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (July 2004)

LINK TO American Guernsey Association: The Guernsey Breed and A2


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