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Article

Gene Expression and Carcass Traits Are Different between Different Quality Grade Groups in Red-Faced Hereford Steers

1
Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
2
Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 97071, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Hässig
Animals 2021, 11(7), 1910; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071910
Received: 19 May 2021 / Revised: 19 June 2021 / Accepted: 23 June 2021 / Published: 27 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
Producing a consistent and positive experience for beef consumers is challenging. The gene expression in muscle at harvest may provide insight into better prediction of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) quality grade. In this pilot study muscle samples were collected at harvest on sixteen steers with a similar background and identical management. Muscle transcripts were sequenced to determine gene expression. Transcripts related to the extracellular matrix, stem cell differentiation, and focal cell adhesions were differentially expressed in muscle tissue from carcasses with differing USDA quality grades. This confirmed the application of this technique to provide insight into muscle development and fat deposition necessary for better prediction and selection to improve consistency and consumer experience.
Fat deposition is important to carcass value and some palatability characteristics. Carcasses with higher USDA quality grades produce more value for producers and processors in the US system and are more likely to have greater eating satisfaction. Using genomics to identify genes impacting marbling deposition provides insight into muscle biochemistry that may lead to ways to better predict fat deposition, especially marbling and thus quality grade. Hereford steers (16) were managed the same from birth through harvest after 270 days on feed. Samples were obtained for tenderness and transcriptome profiling. As expected, steaks from Choice carcasses had a lower shear force value than steaks from Select carcasses; however, steaks from Standard carcasses were not different from steaks from Choice carcasses. A significant number of differentially expressed (DE) genes was observed in the longissimus lumborum between Choice and Standard carcass RNA pools (1257 genes, p < 0.05), but not many DE genes were observed between Choice and Select RNA pools. Exploratory analysis of global muscle tissue transcriptome from Standard and Choice carcasses provided insight into muscle biochemistry, specifically the upregulation of extracellular matrix development and focal adhesion pathways and the downregulation of RNA processing and metabolism in Choice versus Standard. Additional research is needed to explore the function and timing of gene expression changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: gene expression; quality grade; beef cattle gene expression; quality grade; beef cattle
MDPI and ACS Style

Engle, B.; Masters, M.; Boles, J.A.; Thomson, J. Gene Expression and Carcass Traits Are Different between Different Quality Grade Groups in Red-Faced Hereford Steers. Animals 2021, 11, 1910. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071910

AMA Style

Engle B, Masters M, Boles JA, Thomson J. Gene Expression and Carcass Traits Are Different between Different Quality Grade Groups in Red-Faced Hereford Steers. Animals. 2021; 11(7):1910. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071910

Chicago/Turabian Style

Engle, Bailey, Molly Masters, Jane A. Boles, and Jennifer Thomson. 2021. "Gene Expression and Carcass Traits Are Different between Different Quality Grade Groups in Red-Faced Hereford Steers" Animals 11, no. 7: 1910. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071910

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