Genome scan for postmortem carcass traits in Nellore cattle

J Anim Sci. 2016 Oct;94(10):4087-4095. doi: 10.2527/jas.2016-0632.


Carcass traits measured after slaughter are economically relevant traits in beef cattle. In general, the slaughter house payment system is based on HCW. Ribeye area (REA) is associated with the amount of the meat in the carcass, and a minimum of backfat thickness (BFT) is necessary to protect the carcass during cooling. The aim of this study was to identify potential genomic regions harboring candidate genes affecting those traits in Nellore cattle. The data set used in the present study consisted of 1,756 Nellore males with phenotype records. A subset of 1,604 animals had both genotypic and phenotypic information. Genotypes were generated based on a panel with 777,962 SNPs from the Illumina Bovine HD chip. The SNP effects were calculated based on the genomic breeding values obtained by using the single-step GBLUP approach and a genomic matrix re-weighting procedure. The proportion of the variance explained by moving windows of 100 consecutive SNPs was used to assess potential genomic regions harboring genes with major effects on each trait. The top 10 non-overlapping SNP-windows explained 8.72%, 11.38%, and 9.31% of the genetic variance for REA, BFT, and HCW, respectively. These windows are located on chromosomes 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 20, and 29 for REA; chromosomes 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, and 24 for BFT; and chromosomes 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, and 21 for HCW. For REA, there were identified genes ( and ) involved in the cell cycle biological process which affects many aspects of animal growth and development. The and genes, both from AA transporter family, was also associated with REA. The AA transporters are essential for cell growth and proliferation, acting as carriers of tissue nutrient supplies. Various genes identified for BFT (, , , , , and ) have been associated with lipid metabolism in different mammal species. One of the most promising genes identified for HCW was the . There is evidence, in the literature, that this gene is located in putative QTL affecting carcass weight in beef cattle. Our results showed several genomic regions containing plausible candidate genes that may be associated with carcass traits in Nellore cattle. Besides contributing to a better understanding of the genetic control of carcass traits, the identified genes can also be helpful for further functional genomic studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Cattle / physiology
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Red Meat / analysis*


  • Lipids