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New DNA test predicts tenderness in beef

Toughness is an admirable quality in ranchers, but it's less popular in the end product of their work. Inadequate tenderness is one of the top three beef quality issues facing the cattle industry, according to the National Beef Quality Audit.

"In the past there were few options to control and guarantee tenderness," Jim Gibb, senior manager, beef segment development for MERIAL® IGENITY said in a release on Thursday. A new IGENITY tool called TenderGENE could help, using a single sample of an animal's DNA.

"Now with IGENITY TenderGENE, we have a powerful, proven and accurate tool - valuable for all breed types, including Bos indicus cattle - to select specifically for tenderness," Gibb said.

The new IGENITY TenderGENE profile analyzes multiple DNA markers associated with calpain and calpastatin genes - all with a proven effect on Warner-Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF), the most common method of measuring beef tenderness.

Calpain and calpastatin interact to regulate the weakening of muscle fibers during the post-mortem aging process. It is this post-mortem aging process that largely dictates tenderness in the end products that eventually reach the consumer.

"The unique combination and evaluation of these DNA markers - only available through IGENITY TenderGENE - make this the most informative and results-driven tenderness test on the market to be fully validated by the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium," Gibb says.

The validation work for IGENITY TenderGENE included more than 1,200 head of cattle from the NCBA's National Carcass Merit Project.

Toughness is an admirable quality in ranchers, but it's less popular in the end product of their work. Inadequate tenderness is one of the top three beef quality issues facing the cattle industry, according to the National Beef Quality Audit.

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