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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Growth, Physiology, and Reproduction

Myostatin allelic status interacts with level of nutrition to affect growth, composition, and myofiber characteristics of lambs1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 90 No. 2, p. 456-465
    Received: July 07, 2011
    Accepted: Sept 13, 2011
    Published: January 20, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. F. E. M. Haynes*†,
  2. P. L. Greenwood*‡,
  3. M. B. McDonagh and
  4. V. H. Oddy 2
  1. Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation, Armidale, New South Wales 2350, Australia;
    University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2350, Australia; and
    Industry & Investment NSW, Beef Industry Centre, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2350, Australia;
    Department of Primary Industries Victoria, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia



The objective of this experiment was to determine if growth, carcass composition, and myofiber characteristics of lambs were affected by heterozygosity for a myostatin mutation (g+6723G>A) when offered differing allowances of feed administered with or without ractopamine. Heterozygote [MSTN A/G (n = 40)] and homozygote wildtype [MSTN G/G (n = 39)] castrate male lambs were individually fed ad libitum (HI; 1.8 × estimated MEm) or a restricted allowance (LO; 1.1 × estimated MEm) of a diet (191 g of CP/kg of DM and 12 MJ of ME/kg of DM), supplemented with (0.4 mg/kg of BW) or without the β-adrenergic agonist ractopamine (RAC or NO RAC) for 47 d. The lambs were scanned by computed tomography at the beginning and completion of the feeding experiment to calculate composition of lean, fat, and bone in the carcass component of the body. The MSTN A/G HI intake lambs had significantly greater total daily carcass growth (P = 0.045) and loin eye depth (P = 0.022) and tended to have a greater daily growth of lean (P = 0.09) in the carcass, compared with MSTN G/G HI intake lambs. Conversely, MSTN A/G LO intake lambs tended to have less daily lean deposition (P = 0.09), significantly less total daily carcass growth (P = 0.045), and had a greater percentage of type IIX myofibers (P < 0.01) and total myofiber area (relative area) of type IIX myofibers (P = 0.013). The inclusion of RAC increased final BW (P = 0.03) and ADG (P = 0.02), percentage of type IIC (P < 0.001) and IIA (P = 0.012) myofibers, cross-sectional area of types I (P = 0.04) and IIAX (P = 0.04) fibers, and the relative area of type IIC (P = 0.003) and IIA (P = 0.01) myofibers in the LM. The experiment demonstrated that including RAC in the diet of lambs increased final BW and ADG, but not HCW, and increased proportion of type IIC and IIA myofibers and cross-sectional area of type I and IIAX myofibers. Our data suggest that RAC and the heterozygous myostatin mutation act together to increase growth of muscle on a high plane of nutrition. The experiment also demonstrated that poor nutritional background of lambs heterozygous for the myostatin mutation may negatively influence their growth rates and myofiber characteristics.

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