Bovine sire selection based on maintenance energy affects muscle fiber type and meat color of F-1 progeny

K. J. Thornton, C. M. Welch, L. C. Davis, M. E. Doumit, R. A. Hill, G. K. Murdoch

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A total of 42 F-1 Red Angus progeny from sires divergent in maintenance energy (MEM) EPD were analyzed to determine whether selecting for sire MEM would alter end-product meat quality. Data from animals were grouped based on the divergence of the MEM EPD of their sire from the Red Angus Association-reported breed average and defined as either high or low, the assumption being that high-MEM cattle are less efficient because their maintenance requirements represent a larger proportion of their dietary intake. Steer progeny (n = 7) from the high group produced bottom round steaks with a greater a* (redness) color value (P = 0.02) after 5 d in a simulated retail display when compared with bottom round steaks from the low group (n = 18). Bottom round steaks from the high group had a greater b* (yellowness) color value at d 1 (P = 0.03) and d 5 (P = 0.01) of retail display. Samples from the biceps femoris were taken at 12 mo (from both steers and heifers) and 15 mo (from steers only) of age for fiber type proportion analysis. At 12 mo of age, steers from the low group had more type I fibers (P = 0.02), whereas steers from the high group had more type IIb fibers (P = 0.01). Furthermore, samples from steers in the low group at 15 mo had more type I fibers (P = 0.02), and steers from the high group maintained more type IIb fibers (P = 0.02). No changes in fi ber type proportions were observed between the high- and low-MEM EPD heifers (n = 17). Relative mRNA abundance of genes involved in the synthesis, storage, and breakdown of glycogen were analyzed as a variable important for meat quality, but no statistical differences were observed. At 12 mo age, glycogenin (glyc) was negatively correlated with the proportion of type IIa fibers (r = -0.32 and P = 0.12) as well as with the proportion of type IIb fibers (r = -0.42 and P = 0.03) in the biceps femoris of the steers. In samples taken from the biceps femoris at 15 mo age, glyc was negatively correlated with the proportion of type IIa fibers (r = -0.42 and P = 0.03) in the steers. This indicates that relative mRNA expression of glyc may serve as a marker of muscle glycogen storage capacity in steers. Thus, selection for efficient Red Angus beef cattle based on sire MEM EPD does not adversely affect meat quality in F-1 progeny, based on the variables assessed in this study. Furthermore, selection for progeny from low-MEM EPD sires may improve fresh meat quality within Red Angus beef cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1627
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number5
Early online dateDec 2011
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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