In vivo prediction of internal fat weight in Scottish Blackface lambs, using computer tomography

N R Lambe, J Conington, K A McLean, E A Navajas, A V Fisher, L Bünger, Sustainable Livestock Systems Group, SAC

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

From a calibration trial involving computer tomography (CT) scanning and dissection of 45 lambs, a prediction equation was derived to estimate total internal fat weight in Scottish Blackface lambs from measurements taken on cross-sectional CT images. Using data from two cross-sectional images (at the hip and loin) internal fat can be predicted with relatively high accuracy (adjusted R(2) = 62.2%, r = 0.79). The derived equation was then used to predict internal fat weights in a further 427 Scottish Blackface lambs from a separate trial. Phenotypic correlations were calculated between predicted internal fat weight and weights of total carcass fat, muscle and bone, predicted using previously derived equations. When considering absolute tissue weights, adjusted for fixed effects, internal fat showed the strongest positive correlation with carcass fat (0.58), followed by muscle (0.36), and then by bone (0.32). When tissue weights were adjusted for fixed effects and total carcass weight (so considering tissue weights relative to size), internal fat showed a lower correlation with carcass fat weight (0.36) and negative correlations with muscle (-0.35) and bone (-0.19). These results provide the basis for more complex studies of relationships (phenotypic and genetic) between internal fat in hill lambs and economically important traits, such as carcass composition and survival of lambs, and tissue levels in different depots in hill ewes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-13
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Organ Size
  • Phenotype
  • Scotland
  • Sheep
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


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