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J Anim Sci. 2013 Aug;91(8):3593-600. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-6079. Epub 2013 Jul 23.

Genome-wide association study of concentrations of iron and other minerals in longissimus muscle of Angus cattle.

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Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078, USA.


The objective of this study was to characterize variation and identify SNP and chromosomal regions associated with mineral concentrations in LM of Angus beef cattle. Samples of LM from 2,285 Angus cattle were obtained, and concentrations of 7 minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc, were quantified. Genomic DNA extracted from the ground beef sample used for mineral composition was genotyped with the Bovine SNP50 Infinium II BeadChip, and effects of SNP on each trait were estimated using the Bayes-Cπ module of GenSel software. Pedigree-based estimates of heritabilities and corresponding genetic variances indicate iron was the only mineral concentration that could be considered a good candidate for manipulation by genomic selection. The amount of variation that could be accounted for by SNP genotypes was concordant with pedigree-based heritabilities and varied from very low for potassium and sodium (<0.09) to medium high (0.37) for iron. Although significant chromosomal regions were identified for all minerals analyzed in this study, further study focused on iron. Seven regions on 6 chromosomes (1, 2, 7, 10, 15, and 28) were identified to have a major effect on the iron content of LM in Angus cattle. The accuracy of direct genomic values (DGV) for iron concentration was estimated using a 5-fold cross-validation strategy. The accuracy of DGV estimated as the genetic correlation between DGV and the phenotype (iron concentration) adjusted for contemporary groups was 0.59. A bivariate animal model was used to estimate genetic correlations between iron concentrations and a reduced set of economically important carcass traits: HCW, rib eye area, calculated USDA yield grade, percent KPH, and marbling score. The genetic correlations between iron concentration and HCW, percentage KPH, marbling score, and rib eye area were small (-0.19 to 0.15) and nonsignificant. Although still weak (0.22), a positive significant genetic correlation was identified between iron content and USDA calculated yield grade. Beef is a major contributor of iron and zinc in the human diet, and this study found that iron content might be effectively manipulated through marker-assisted selection programs, without compromising other carcass and palatability traits.

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