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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 88 No. 9, p. 3059-3069
    Received: Dec 04, 2009
    Accepted: May 15, 2010
    Published: December 4, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for tenderness in Brahman cattle: 2. Objective meat quality1

  1. L. M. Cafe*†,
  2. B. L. McIntyre*‡,
  3. D. L. Robinson*†,
  4. G. H. Geesink,
  5. W. Barendse*#,
  6. D. W. Pethick*‖,
  7. J. M. Thompson and
  8. P. L. Greenwood 2
  1. Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia;
    Industry & Investment NSW, Beef Industry Centre, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia;
    Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, South Perth, Western Australia 6151, Australia;
    Department of Meat Science, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia;
    CSIRO Livestock Industries, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, St. Lucia, Queensland 4067, Australia; and
    School of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia



Effects and interactions of calpain-system tenderness gene markers on objective meat quality traits of Brahman (Bos indicus) cattle were quantified within 2 concurrent experiments at different locations. Cattle were selected for study from commercial and research herds at weaning based on their genotype for calpastatin (CAST) and calpain 3 (CAPN3) gene markers for beef tenderness. Gene marker status for μ-calpain (CAPN1–4751 and CAPN1–316) was also determined for inclusion in statistical analyses. Eighty-two heifer and 82 castrated male cattle with 0 or 2 favorable alleles for CAST and CAPN3 were studied in New South Wales (NSW), and 143 castrated male cattle with 0, 1, or 2 favorable alleles for CAST and CAPN3 were studied in Western Australia (WA). The cattle were backgrounded for 6 to 8 mo and grain-fed for 117 d (NSW) or 80 d (WA) before slaughter. One-half the cattle in each experiment were implanted with a hormonal growth promotant during feedlotting. One side of each carcass was suspended from the Achilles tendon (AT) and the other from the pelvis (tenderstretch). The M. longissimus lumborum from both sides and the M. semitendinosus from the AT side were collected; then samples of each were aged at 1°C for 1 or 7 d. Favorable alleles for one or more markers reduced shear force, with little effect on other meat quality traits. The size of effects of individual markers varied with site, muscle, method of carcass suspension, and aging period. Individual marker effects were additive as evident in cattle with 4 favorable alleles for CAST and CAPN3 markers, which had shear force reductions of 12.2 N (P < 0.001, NSW) and 9.3 N (P = 0.002, WA) in AT 7 d aged M. longissimus lumborum compared with those with no favorable alleles. There was no evidence (all P > 0.05) of interactions between the gene markers, or between the hormonal growth promotant and gene markers for any meat quality traits. This study provides further evidence that selection based on the CAST or CAPN3 gene markers improves meat tenderness in Brahman cattle, with little if any detrimental effects on other meat quality traits. The CAPN1–4751 gene marker also improved beef tenderness without affecting other objective meat quality traits in heterozygous cattle compared with homozygotes for the unfavorable allele.

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