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Genetic variation in fatness and fatty acid composition of crossbred cattle


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Pitchford, WS and Deland, MPB and Siebert, BD and Malau-Aduli, AEO and Bottema, CDK (2002) Genetic variation in fatness and fatty acid composition of crossbred cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 80 (11). pp. 2825-2832. ISSN 1525-3163

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Mature Hereford cows (766) were mated to 97 sires from seven breeds (Jersey, Wagyu, Angus, Hereford, South Devon, Limousin, and Belgian Blue), resulting in 1,215 calves born over 4 yr (1994 to 1997). These cattle comprised Australia's "Southern Crossbreeding Project." Heifers were slaughtered at an average of 16 mo with hot standard carcass weight of 219 kg and 9 mm fat over the rump. Steers were slaughtered at an average of 23 mo with carcass weight of 319 kg and 13 mm fat over the rump. Meat and fat samples were taken from the carcass on the day after slaughter for subsequent laboratory analysis of i.m. fat content and fatty acid composition. Data were analyzed using uni- and bivariate animal models containing fixed effects of cohort, management group, birth month, and sire breed. March-born calves had fat with a 0.5 degree C lower melting point, 0.6% higher total monounsaturated fatty acids, and 0.7% higher fatty acid desaturation index than calves born in April. Steers born in 1997 were the only cohort finished on pasture, and they had much more yellow fat than the other cohorts. Four heavy breed crosses (Angus, South Devon, Limousin, and Belgian Blue) averaged 284 kg carcass weight, followed by purebred Hereford (268 kg), Wagyu (244 kg) and Jersey (236 kg). Angus had the greatest fat depth (14.3 mm), ahead of Hereford and Wagyu (11.9 mm), Jersey (10.7 mm), South Devon and Limousin (9.9 mm) and Belgian Blue (8.0 mm). Jersey, Wagyu, and Angus had the most i.m. fat (4.6%), followed by Hereford and South Devon (3.8%), and Limousin and Belgian Blue (3.1%). The highly marbled Jersey and Wagyu had softer fat (6% lower fat melting point) than the other breeds. Angus were more highly marbled, similar to Jersey and Wagyu, but had harder fat similar to the leaner breeds. Heritabilities for all traits were low to moderate (16 to 36%). Genetic correlations between fatty acid composition and carcass traits were not significant, indicating little evidence of antagonisms between traits that would prevent genetic progress in both production and quality.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Beef Cattle, Fatty Acids, Genetic Parameters
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Animal Science
Page Range: pp. 2825-2832
ISSN: 1525-3163
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:12
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