Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), previously associated with meat and milk quality traits in cattle, in a population of 443 commercial Aberdeen Angus-cross beef cattle. The eight SNP, which were located within five genes: mu-calpain (CAPN1), calpastatin (CAST), leptin (LEP), growth hormone receptor (GHR) and acylCoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1), are included in various commercial tests for tenderness, fatness, carcass composition and milk yield/quality.
Methods: A total of 27 traits were examined, 19 relating to carcass quality, such as carcass weight and fatness, one mechanical measure of tenderness, and the remaining seven were sensory traits, such as flavour and tenderness, assessed by a taste panel.
Results: An SNP in the CAPN1 gene, CAPN316, was significantly associated with tenderness measured by both the tenderometer and the taste panel as well as the weight of the hindquarter, where animals inheriting the CC genotype had more tender meat and heavier hindquarters. An SNP in the leptin gene, UASMS2, significantly affected overall liking, where animals with the TT genotype were assigned higher scores by the panellists. The SNP in the GHR gene was significantly associated with odour, where animals inheriting the AA genotype produced steaks with an intense odour when compared with the other genotypes. Finally, the SNP in the DGAT1 gene was associated with sirloin weight after maturation and fat depth surrounding the sirloin, with animals inheriting the AA genotype having heavier sirloins and more fat.
Conclusion: The results of this study confirm some previously documented associations. Furthermore, novel associations have been identified which, following validation in other populations, could be incorporated into breeding programmes to improve meat quality.