Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 22, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Potential for manipulation of growth and composition of farm animals has never been greater than at present due to the wide array of strategies for altering the balance between lean and fat. Recent discoveries of repartitioning effects of somatotropin, select B-adrenergic agonists, as well as the variety of growth-promoting agents, and gene manipulation techniques (transgenic animals) and most recently cloning, offer a wide range of strategies. Although progress is being made, much more needs to be accomplished. Eating quality and safety must not be sacrificed as meat animals are developed using these biotech approaches.
Biotechnology is the implementation of biological sciences for the improvement of technology. Use of science for the improvement of muscle foods has involved natural selection of dominant traits, selection of preferred traits by crossbreeding, the use of endogenous and exogenous growth factors and ultimately gene manipulation to produce desirable changes in meat/carcass quality and yield. Until recently, improvements in the quality of meat products that reached the market place were largely the result of postharvest technology. Extensive postharvest efforts have been implemented to improve or to control the tenderness, flavor and juiciness. Tenderness, flavor, and juiciness are the sensory attributes that make meat products palatable. A wide range of biotechnology strategies for altering the balance between lean and adipose tissue growth and deposition in meat-producing animals are available. These include genetic selection and management (production) strategies. More recently, the confirmation of the growth-promoting and nutrient repartitioning effects of somatotropin, somatomedin, B-adrenergic agonists, immunization of animals against target circulating hormones or releasing factors and gene manipulation (transgenic and cloning) techniques have given rise to a technological revolution for altering growth and development in meat-producing animals.