The bovine prolactin gene family includes novel members expressed in the fetal placenta that are distinct from placental lactogen. In this study, we investigated the genetic organization of four members of this gene family (PRP1, PRP3, PRP6, and PRP10) as well as placental lactogen (PL). Using a bovine-rodent hybrid somatic cell panel, all five genes were assigned to bovine chromosome 23, which contains prolactin and the major histocompatability group (BOLA). Restriction fragment length polymorphisms were detected by all probes in breeding populations with the restriction enzyme MspI, whereas no polymorphisms were detected with BamHI. EcoRI, HindIII, TaqI, and PstI produced polymorphic fragments with some but not all of the probes tested. A PRP10 polymorphism, which is apparently the result of a insertion/deletion event, detected polymorphism frequency differences between Bos indicus and Bos taurus. No recombinational events were observed with these probes and prolactin using linkage analysis involving 91 American Holsteins. The bovine prolactin gene family was incorporated into a linkage group containing CYP21. Our studies demonstrate that members of the bovine prolactin gene family have a close physical association with each other, and all members demonstrate genetic variability in the breeding population.
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