Genetic testing for meat delicacy markers / tenderness

Tenderness is the key criterion of meat customer satisfaction. Scientists proved that selection of specific variations of genetic characteristics in meat cattle breeding improves the meat quality.

The genetic testing for meat quality presented below may help in meat cattle farming in order to promote the desired meat characteristics. It should be noted, however, that physiological processes, such as fat composition, fibre structure, include various biological factors not influencing these tests. . In addition, other characteristics of the animal should not be ignored in order to achieve holistic breeding success.

SCD test
Cattle displays several different DNA sequences of the SCD gene. These are divided into 2 groups, A and V. Some black Japanese cattle carries a special mutation changing the relevant amino acid from valine (V) to alanine (A), which is strongly related to the fat melting point.

Type (A) displays lower melting points than type (V). Thus, AA is the preferred type. Use of the SCD test allows cattle depositing soft fat, rich in oleic acid, tasty and healthy to be selected for breeding. 

EXON-5 test
This test is used to evaluate black Japanese cattle in terms of an important economic characteristics - the marble effect.
The growth hormone (GH) includes 5 exons, it is one of peptide hormones influencing energy flow through the body.
It is known that GH stimulates the release of amino acids from fatty cells and decrease the amount of deposited fat. It was shown that cattle with higher GH levels in plasma also displays lower fat levels in the muscles.
These variants have been noticed in the 5th exon: these are called A, B and C, resulting in 6 genotypes AA, AB, AC, BB, BC and CC, and the C type has not been found in any other race.

The A gene variant has been recently introduced to the Wagyu cattle via cross-breeding with cattle from Western countries.
The B allele variant has been present in the Wagyu genome for thousands of years.
The C variant is considered to be the original one.
This results in the CC gene variant to be preferred in this race, followed by BC and BB.

Tenderness
Determined as a part of DNA testing, using a 1-10 scale with 10 indicating the most tender meat.
Cattle displaying preferred genotypes of Exon 5, SCD, Tenderness, ensures the most probable, high quality of beef under the condition that all other factors are satisfactory. 

CAPN test
This test distinguishes between several variants of the calpain gene. Calpain is an enzyme naturally present in the muscles. It becomes active once the animal dies. Then it participates in decomposition of muscle fibres. This degradation results in an increase of meat tenderness over a period of two-three weeks.

C/C is the preferred variant of CAPN1-316, the G/G variant is associated with harder meat.
The C/C variant is the best CAPN1-4751 variant, however, a T/T variant is also present.
Mixed CG (CAPN1-316) or C/T variants occur, if the parents inherited a variant different from the studied animal. 

CAST test
Calpastatin (CAST) is a cellular factor inhibiting natural maturation of meat. It acts by inhibiting calpain activity. The resulting, increased effectiveness of calpastatin results in harder meat. It exists in C/C, G/C and G/G variants. The C/C variant is the preferred type.