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Genetic improvement of meat production in sheep and cattle -current industry schemes and future possibilities

  • G Simm (a1) and D E Steane (a2)

Abstract

Overfatness of lamb and beef carcasses is a problem in many countries. Genetic improvement of carcass composition, particularly in specialised terminal sire (meat) breeds, should lead to permanent, cumulative, and cost-effective improvements. In the past, selection in these breeds has been mainly on liveweight. However, the use of in vivo estimates of carcass composition is expected to lead to higher rates of progress. In ruminants index selection is likely to be most useful, and early results from selection experiments are encouraging. Although schemes for recording performance and estimating breeding values are in operation in many countries, structural problems such as small herd or flock sizes, and lack of comparisons between herds or flocks impede progress. To some extent, these problems could be overcome by cooperation amongst breeders and wider use of new statistical techniques. Genetic improvement of meat production could be further enhanced by improved techniques for in vivo estimation of carcass composition, and by use of embryo transfer to increase “annual selection intensity” of females.

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References

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Genetic improvement of meat production in sheep and cattle -current industry schemes and future possibilities

  • G Simm (a1) and D E Steane (a2)

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