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Beef Industry on Threshold of Startling Tenderness Gene Development 15/01/08

Genesis Faraday, the organisation which funds and promotes the development of new genetic technologies, has backed the beef industry in research which could persuade breeders to use gene marking, identified through DNA, to produce cattle with more tender beef.

A DNA test simply requires a few strands of tail hair.

A DNA test simply requires a few strands of tail hair.

And the results of the trial, in which Dovecote Park, Border Quality Beef, the National Beef Association, IGENITY® and the University of Bristol are working together to discover which tenderness gene marker scores meet consumer expectations for beef tenderness consistently well, are expected later this year.

“The apparently random tendency of some animals to produce tough beef has frustrated consumers, retailers and breeders for decades but the identification of exactly which cattle carry the gene score combination that makes their beef acceptably tender could revolutionise beef production,” explained National Beef Association director, Kim Haywood, who co-ordinated the group application for the research grant.

“The trial’s first task is to discover the actual relationship between DNA profile scores for the tenderness gene and actual meat tenderness. Then a full investigation into whether selection based exclusively on traits which govern eating quality will undermine other physiological traits like growth rate, muscling or produce a different fat score is also being conducted.”

“Once this information has been verified, and if the results are as good as the industry hopes, then a number of new commercial doors will immediately swing open and moves can be made to produce animals which will be more valuable because none of their beef will disappoint consumers by being tough.”

The NBA which has for a decade been a committed supporter of the production of more high quality beef suspects that one of the first results of the DNA based trial will be a surge in the number of breeders using objective data to make sure they are purchasing the right stock bulls and brood cows.

“The visible characteristics that make a show champion will no longer be enough on their own to persuade modern breeders that they can be certain they are looking at exactly the type of animal they want,” said Ms Haywood.

“Instead they will need to combine genetic information made available through EBV (Estimated Breed Value) with other figures relating directly to beef tenderness to identify animals that are in the best position to deliver a high quality beef product to the supply chain.”

“Animals carrying the tenderness gene will be more valuable to consumers , retailers and processors who are prepared to construct a supply chain focussed on the delivery of more consistently tender beef and it is expected they will carry a premium as a result of this.”

“And because the same DNA gene marking technology that confirms inheritance of the tenderness gene also confirms the identity of the individual animal there will be in-built traceability that will identify beef from individual animals that have been moved through secure supply systems too.”

link Semex AI-24 Heatime Could Transform Bovine Fertility Management
link Milking Over 300 Cows in Just 60 minutes
link Semex Dairy Conference 2008 – The Big Picture

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