Genetic analysis of carcass and meat quality traits in Nelore cattle

Daniel Gustavo M. Gordo, Rafael Espigolan, Tiago Bresolin, Gerardo A.Fernandes Júnior, Ana F.B. Magalhães, Camila U. Braz, Willian Bruno Fernandes, Fernando Baldi, Lucia G. Albuquerque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for carcass and meat quality traits, as well as their genetic correlations using pedigree and genomic information. A total of 3,716; 3,702; 3,439; 3,705; and 3,714 records of 12th-13th rib LM area (LMA), backfat thickness (BF), HCW, marbling score (MARB), and Warner-Bratzler peak shear force (WBSF), respectively, were used. Animals were genotyped with BovineHD BeadChip and GeneSeek Genomic Profiler Indicus HD - GGP75Ki panel. The (co)variance components were estimated by Bayesian inference using a multitrait ssGBLUP analysis. The animal model included fixed effects of contemporary group (defined by the combination of farm and year of birth, and management group at yearling) and age of animal at slaughtering as a covariate (linear). Direct additive genetic and residual effects were fitted as random. The posterior means and SD of heritabilities for LMA, BF, HCW, MARB, and WBSF were 0.28 (0.03), 0.21 (0.04), 0.21 (0.04), 0.12 (0.04), and 0.11 (0.03), respectively. The posterior means for genetic correlations between LMA and meat quality were positive and moderate with MARB (0.38 ± 0.12) and negative with WBSF (-0.47 ± 0.12). Low genetic correlations were estimated between BF and WBSF (-0.03 ± 0.16) and between HCW and MARB (-0.04 ± 0.14), indicating that these traits are not controlled by the same set or linked genes. Carcass traits (LMA, BF, and HCW) presented moderate heritability providing quick response to the selection purpose. The estimates of heritability for meat quality traits (MARB and WBSF) were low and indicate that the rate of genetic improvement for these traits would be slow. Genetic correlations indicated that selection for carcass traits would not be strongly antagonistic for improving meat quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3558-3564
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 7 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Backfat thickness
  • Genetic correlation
  • HCW
  • Heritability
  • LM area
  • Marbling score
  • Shear force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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