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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Optimum mating systems for the myostatin locus in cattle.

Inactive myostatin (one or two copies) results in increased muscularity, increased yield of closely trimmed retail product, reduced fat content, increased lean growth efficiency, reduced quality grade, increased birth weight, and increased dystocia. Even though one or two copies of inactive myostatin reduces quality grade or marbling compared to zero copies, there is no decrease in meat tenderness. It may be possible to use mating systems to make the most of the advantages of inactive myostatin while minimizing the disadvantages. The objective of this study was to develop a method to compare mating systems among genotypes at the myostatin locus. Economic variables that influence the profitability of alternative mating systems are prices per unit of retail product for USDA quality grades Standard, Select, and Choice; cost of an assisted calving; and cost of genotyping. Because of variation in both economic variables and biological parameters, a single mating system is not expected to universally maximize profit. We identified seven mating systems that each yield maximum profit for different combinations of values for biological parameters and economic variables. Use of inactive myostatin was profitable as long as the price for Select was at least 80% of the Choice price and the price for Standard at least 60%. As the price for Select and Standard increase up to the Choice price, mating systems that produce a higher proportion of inactive myostatin alleles become more profitable. Profitable use of inactive myostatin depends either on retaining ownership of beef until it is fabricated into retail product or the development of specialty markets that place greater value on lean yield and less on marbling, unlike conventional U. S. markets.[1]


  1. Optimum mating systems for the myostatin locus in cattle. Keele, J.W., Fahrenkrug, S.C. J. Anim. Sci. (2001) [Pubmed]
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