Selection for carcass quality in hill sheep measured by X-ray computer tomography

E. Karamichou, B. G. Merrell, W. A. Murray, Geoff Simm, S. C. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper describes an investigation of the use of computer tomography (CT) to genetically improve carcass composition and conformation in Scottish Blackface sheep. After 5 years of selection on an index designed to improve both composition and conformation (the 'CT index'), a large response was observed in the CT index, with genetic progress equivalent to 0.11 phenotypic standard deviations per year Heritabilities for the index and for the component traits of average CT-assessed muscle area, ultrasonic muscle depth and ultrasonic fat depth were 0.41 (s.e. 0.08), 0.38 (s.e. 0.07), 0.41 (s.e. 0.05) and 0.30 (s.e. 0.05), respectively. The index was positively genetically correlated with ultrasonic muscle depth and carcass weight and negatively genetically correlated with fat class. The genetic and phenotypic correlations among ultrasonic measurements were positive and moderate. However, many of the genetic correlations tended to have large standard errors. Selection on the CT index moderately improved conformation and was successful at decreasing fat class of the carcass. Equivalent selection on live weight at ultrasound scanning would improve carcass and slaughter weight, and total price received, but would have a slightly deleterious impact on conformation score. The results of this study demonstrate that genetic improvement of carcass quality can be achieved in hill sheep using CT assessed traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Keywords

  • carcass composition
  • conformation
  • computer tomography
  • genetic parameters
  • sheep
  • SCOTTISH BLACKFACE SHEEP
  • LEAN MEAT PRODUCTION
  • ULTRASONIC MEASUREMENTS
  • PROGENY TEST
  • GROWTH
  • TRAITS
  • LAMBS
  • FAT
  • RESPONSES
  • PROGRAM

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