Genetic Correlations of Fatty Acid Concentrations with Carcass Traits in Angus-Sired Beef Cattle
Fatty acid composition of beef is heritable in grain-fed calves. To select for beef that is more healthful, it is important to know the genetic correlations of specific fatty acid concentrations with carcass traits that have been under selection for several years. The most relevant fatty acids in beef for selection would be myristic acid, because of its impact on healthfulness, and oleic acid, because of its amount in beef.
Myristic acid has favorable genetic correlations with hot carcass weight, 12-13th rib subcutaneous fat thickness, and Warner-Bratzler shear force (-0.23, 0.27, and 0.31, respectively). Additionally, the genetic correlation of oleic acid with marbling is very strong and favorable (0.83). Unfortunately, myristic acid has a moderate antagonistic genetic correlation to marbling (0.31). In addition, oleic acid has weak to moderate antagonistic genetic correlations with hot carcass weight, 12-13th rib subcutaneous fat thickness, percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat, and Warner-Bratzler shear force (-0.14, 0.18, 0.36, and 0.12, respectively).
Information about the genetic correlations of traditional carcass traits and fatty acid concentrations will enable us to create a selection scheme that will create more healthful beef that meets the other carcass characteristics desired by the consumer.