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Effects and interactions of myostatin and callipyge mutations: I. Growth and carcass traits

Brad Freking, David King, Steven Shackelford, Tommy Wheeler, Tim Smith
Journal of animal science 2018 v.96 no.2 pp. 454-461
Texel, alleles, birth weight, carcass characteristics, crossbreds, ewes, genotyping, heterozygosity, lambs, loci, muscles, mutation, myostatin, progeny, rams, rearing, rump, slaughter, synergism, weaning
Objectives were to document effects of the Texel myostatin mutation (MSTN) on growth and carcass traits and also test whether or not interactions with the callipyge mutation (CLPG) could be detected. Twelve rams heterozygous at both loci on the two different chromosomes were mated to 215 terminal-sire type composite crossbred ewes genotyped as non-carriers for both loci. A total of 365 lambs were born, 362 of those were genotyped and 236 lambs contributed carcass data to estimate effects and interactions among the four genotype combinations produced. The four genotype combinations were defined as follows: ++/++ for wild-type at both loci; ++/C+ for wild-type at MSTN and heterozygous at CLPG; M+/++ for heterozygous at MSTN and wild-type at CLPG; and M+/C+ for heterozygous at both loci. The two independently segregating sire-derived alleles represent different breed-of-origin contrasts at each locus (Texel vs. composite origin for MSTN and Dorset vs. Texel origin for CLPG). Birth weight was recorded on all lambs, and subsequent body weights were adjusted to 56 (weaning), 70, and 140 d of age. Within sire-sex-genotype subgroups, naturally reared lambs were assigned to one of eight slaughter groups accounting for variation in birth date. Lambs were serially slaughtered at weekly intervals, 30 lambs per group, from roughly 26 to 33 wk of age. In addition to standard carcass traits, subjective leg scores were assigned and widths of carcasses were measured at the widest points of the shoulder and rump. Differences in birth weight were detected (P < 0.01) for the combination of the two loci and birth type, with single-born differences among genotypes exceeding differences among twin born progeny. Those interaction differences among genotypes were not as important at weaning (P = 0.36). Impact on growth rate differences among the genotypes during the post-weaning period were variable and dependent on sex of the lamb (P < 0.01). A synergistic interaction between MSTN and CLPG was observed for leg muscling scores (P < 0.05) but no other measures of carcass shape were affected. One copy of MSTN had a more modest impact on fat deposition and muscle conformation than did CLPG and did not interact (all values P > 0.20). Although some non-additive interactions that vary by trait and sex were detected, in general the data are consistent with the two mutations acting on muscle growth through independent pathways.