Detection of quantitative trait loci for meat quality traits in cattle

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SummaryA whole-genome scan was carried out to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting sensory, organoleptic, physical and chemical properties of meat. The study used phenotypic data from 235 second-generation cross-bred bull calves of a Charolais × Holstein experimental population. Loin muscle samples were evaluated for yield force, intramuscular fat and nitrogen contents, myofibrillar fragmentation index, haem pigment concentration, moisture content and pH at 24 h postmortem. A sensory assessment was performed on grilled loin and roasted silverside joints by trained panellists. A linear regression analysis based on 165 markers revealed 35 QTL at the 5% chromosome-wide significance level (20 for sensory traits and 15 for physical and chemical traits), five of which were highly significant (F-value: ≥9). The most significant QTL was located on chromosome 6 (with the best likely position at 39 cM) and affected haem pigment concentration. The Holstein allele for this QTL was associated with an increase of 0.53 SD in the haem scores. A QTL for pH24h was identified on chromosome 14 (at 40 cM) and a QTL for moisture content was identified on chromosome 22 (at 21 cM). Two highly significant QTL were identified for sensory panel-assessed traits: beef odour intensity (grilled sample) on chromosome 10 (at 119 cM), and juiciness (roast sample) on chromosome 16 (at 70 cM). The proportion of phenotypic variance explained by the significant QTL ranged from 3.6% (for nitrogen content on chromosome 10) to 9.5% (for juiciness, roast sample on chromosome 16).

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