U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Genome-Wide Association of Myoglobin Concentrations in Pork Loins

Amanda J. Cross, David A. King, Steven D. Shackelford, Tommy L. Wheeler, Dan J. Nonneman, Brittney N. Keel, Gary A. Rohrer
Meat and muscle biology 2018 v.2 no.1 pp. 189-196
biomarkers, calcium, chromosomes, color, exports, finishing, genes, genetic markers, genetic variance, genetic variation, homeostasis, iron, lean meat, loins, models, muscles, myoglobin, pH, pigments, pork, product improvement, swine
Lean color is a major focus for identifying pork loins for export markets, and myoglobin is the primary pigment driving pork color. Thus, increasing myoglobin concentration should increase redness of pork products and the number of loins acceptable for exportation. Therefore, understanding genetic variation and parameters affecting myoglobin concentration is critical for improving pork color. The objective of this study was to identify genetic markers associated with myoglobin concentration in pork loin muscle. Ultimate pH and myoglobin concentrations were measured in longissimus thoracis et lumborum samples of pigs (n = 599) from two different commercial finishing swine facilities. A Bayes-C model implemented in GenSel identified regions within 7 chromosomes that explained greater than 63% of the genetic variance in myoglobin concentration. Chromosome 7 had 1 significant region which accounted for 37% of the genetic variance, while chromosome 14 had 4 significant regions accounting for 9.8% of the genetic variance. Candidate genes in the region on chromosome 7 were involved in iron homeostasis, and genes in the significant regions on chromosome 14 were involved in calcium regulation. Genes identified in this study represent potential biomarkers that could be used to select for higher myoglobin concentrations in pork, which may improve lean meat color.