Monday, February 17, 2014

Researching DNA for quality beef

Researchers at the University of Texas are gathering DNA from the best carcasses at packing plants, aiming to use it to produce calves that will lead to genetic improvements in beef-breeding programs.

They say only 0.03 of the carcasses they sample yield the combination of traits they seek.

They figure they will have their first batch of embryos in March.

The project uses Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) reproductive technology to create cloned calves.

The public-private partnership between West Texas A&M University and industry professionals is more than three years in the making, says a report by Meatingplace Magazine.

“Researchers hope to successfully reproduce cattle from animals graded Prime, Yield Grade 1, the highest quality and most sought-after animals in the beef industry,” Meatingplace reports.

“Ideally the clones would be used to breed a line of cattle that could produce USDA’s highest grade beef in a shorter amount of time using fewer feed resources.”
The researchers, led by Dean Hawkins, head of the department of agricultural sciences, presented their findings during the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Rapid City, S.D.