A partial genome scan to map quantitative trait loci for carcass composition, as assessed by X-ray computer tomography, and meat quality traits in Scottish Blackface Sheep

E. Karamichou*, R. I. Richardson, G. R. Nute, K. A. McLean, S. C. Bishop

*Corresponding author for this work

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Quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified for traits related to carcass and meat quality in Scottish Blackface sheep. The population studied was a double backcross between lines of sheep divergently selected for carcass lean content (LEAN and FAT lines), comprising nine half-sib families. Carcass composition (600 lambs) was assessed non-destructively using computerized tomography (CT) scanning and meat quality measurements (initial and final pH of m. semimembranosus, colour, shear force value, carcass weight, lamb flavour, juiciness, tenderness and overall liking) were taken on 300 male lambs. Lambs and their sires were genotyped across candidate regions on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 14, 18, 20 and 21. QTL analyses were performed using regression interval mapping techniques. In total, nine genome-wise significant and 11 chromosome-wise and suggestive QTL were detected in seven out of eight chromosomes. Genome-wise significant QTL were mapped for lamb flavour (OAR 1); for muscle densities (OAR 2 and OAR 3); for colour a(*) (redness) (OAR 3); for bone density (OAR 1); for slaughter live weight (OAR 1 and OAR 2) and for the weights of cold and hot carcass (OAR 5). The QTL with the strongest statistical evidence affected the lamb flavour of meat and was on OAR 1, in a region homologous with a porcine SSC 13 QTL identified for pork flavour. This QTL segregated in four of the nine families. This study provides new information on QTL affecting meat quality and carcass composition traits in sheep, which may lead to novel opportunities for genetically improving these traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal science
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • carcass composition
  • meat quality
  • muscle density
  • quantitative trait loci
  • sheep
  • GENE
  • QTL

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