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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Genetics and Animal Breeding » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #197294


item Leymaster, Kreg
item Shackelford, Steven
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2006
Publication Date: 5/24/2006
Citation: Leymaster, K.A., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2006. Breed effects on growth, carcass and meat quality traits of sheep. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, New Developments in Sheepmeat Quality. p. 43-47.

Interpretive Summary: Breed diversity allows producers to identify and use a breed or breeds that perform at levels consistent with marketing goals and with production resources such as feed availability, labor, facilities, and managerial skills. Important differences exist among breeds for growth, carcass, and tenderness traits; whereas, breed effects on juiciness, flavor intensity, and off-flavor scores are relatively minor. When supplemented by information on reproductive performance, these results are useful to determine appropriate roles of breeds in commercial lamb production. If meat quality traits such as juiciness and flavor intensity limit marketing opportunities, then selection within breeds rather than among breeds may be necessary to produce lamb with greater palatability.

Technical Abstract: An experiment was conducted to estimate direct breed effects on growth, carcass, and meat quality traits. Rams of nine breeds (Composite, Dorper, Dorset, Finnsheep, Katahdin, Rambouillet, Romanov, Suffolk, and Texel) were mated to Composite ewes. Data recorded on 804 progeny of 130 rams were analyzed. Differences among sire breeds for growth, carcass and tenderness traits were detected (P < 0.001), whereas sire breed effects on juiciness (P < 0.03), flavor intensity (P < 0.06) and off-flavor scores (P < 0.11) were relatively minor. If juiciness and flavor limit marketing opportunities, then it may be appropriate to investigate genetic regulation of these traits within breed and to evaluate selection strategies to improve lamb palatability within prominent breeds. Breeds that deviate from general interbreed relationships involving growth, carcass, and meat quality traits are valuable as a method to achieve production and marketing goals somewhat independent of mature size. Geneticists are discovering chromosomal regions that affect growth, carcass, and meat quality traits of sheep, leading to development of genetic markers that can be used by producers to improve production efficiency and product quality.