Effects of a quantitative trait locus for increased muscularity on carcass traits measured by subjective conformation and fat class scores and video image analysis in crossbred lambs

E. Rius-Vilarrasa, R. Roehe, J.M. Macfarlane, N.R. Lambe, K.R. Matthews, W. Haresign, O. Matika, L. Bunger

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A quantitative trait locus (QTL) for increased loin muscularity (TM-QTL) has previously been identified in purebred Texel sheep. Crossbred lambs born out of Mule ewes mated to heterozygous Texel sires for the TM-QTL were evaluated for a range of carcass traits. Lambs were genotyped and classified as carriers (h = 62) of a single copy of the TM-QTL and non-carriers (in = 49). In this study, the effects of the TM-QTL on carcass attributes were investigated using subjective classification scores for conformation and fatness, and measurements from a video image analysis (VIA) system. In addition, refined prediction equations to estimate weights of primal joints (leg, chump, loin, breast and shoulder) were obtained by calibrating the VIA system against computer tomography (CT) measurements in the loin region. The new refined prediction models increased the accuracy of prediction of all primal cuts on an average of 16% compared to previously derived standard VIA prediction equations. The coefficient of determination (R-2) of the VIA system to predict in vivo CT measurements ranged from 0.39 to 0.72 for measurements of Musculus longissimus lumborum (MLL) area, width and depth, lumbar spine length, loin muscle volume and loin muscularity index. Using VIA estimates of CT-measured loin muscle traits, a significant increase in depth (+2.7%) of the MLL was found to be associated with the TM-QTL. Conformation and fatness scores and the shape of the carcass measured as individual lengths, widths and areas by VIA were not significantly influenced by the TM-QTL. Primal meat yields estimated using both standard and refined VIA prediction equations were not significantly affected by the TM-QTL. However, carcass 'compactness' was found to have significantly increased in carrier lambs. The weight of the dissected MLL estimated using VIA information was greater (+2.6%) for carriers compared to non-carriers. To conclude, neither the current industry carcass evaluation system for conformation and fatness nor the standard VIA system is able to identify the effect of the TM-QTL in the loin region in the moment. However, the calibration of the VIA system against CT measurements resulted in improved VIA prediction equations for primal meat yields and also showed moderate potential to estimate loin muscle traits measured by CT and to detect, partially, the effect of the TM-QTL on these traits
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1532-1543
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • carcass quality CONFORMATION lamb QTL video image analysis

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