Myostatin, or growth and differentiation factor 8 (GDF8), has been identified as the factor causing a phenotype known as double muscling, in which a series of mutations render the gene inactive, and therefore, unable to regulate muscle fibre deposition. This phenotype occurs at a high frequency in some breeds of cattle such as Belgian Blue and Peidmontese. Phylogenetic analysis has shown that there has been positive selection pressure for non-synonymous mutations within the myostatin gene family, around the time of the divergence of cattle, sheep and goats, and these positive selective pressures on non-ancestral myostatin are relatively recent. To date, there have been reports of nine mutations in coding regions of myostatin that cause non-synonymous changes, of which three cause missense mutations, including two in exon 1 and one in exon 2. The remaining six mutations, located in exons 2 and 3, result in premature stop codons, which are the mutations responsible for the double-muscling phenotype. Unfortunately, breed management problems exist for double-muscled cattle, such as birthing difficulties, which can be overcome through genetically controlled breeding programmes, as shown in this review.