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J Anim Sci. 1997 Dec;75(12):3126-37.

Phenotypic and genetic parameters for longissimus muscle fiber characteristics in relation to growth, carcass, and meat quality traits in large white pigs.

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Station de Génétique Quantitative et Appliquée, INRA, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


A total of 383 barrows and gilts from a French Large White experimental herd were slaughtered at 100 kg BW. Samples of longissimus muscle were taken to categorize myofibers according to their contractile (I, IIA, and IIB) and metabolic (oxidative and nonoxidative) properties. Myofiber percentages, cross-sectional areas (CSA), and relative areas were measured. Growth rate, carcass composition, muscle chemical composition, metabolic enzyme activities, and meat quality traits were also measured to estimate phenotypic and genetic correlations between these traits and myofiber characteristics. Genetic parameters were estimated using a REML procedure applied to an individual animal model. Heritabilities of fiber traits were moderate to high (h2 = .20 to .59). Highest heritabilities were found for type I fiber percentage (h2 = .46 +/- .11), type IIBw fiber percentage (h2 = .58 +/- .11), and type I fiber cross-sectional area (h2 = .59 +/- .10). For a given fiber type, the relative area was phenotypically and genetically more closely related to the percentage than to the CSA. Phenotypic correlations between fiber type composition and other traits were low. Genetically, growth rate, carcass leanness, and loin eye area were positively related to fiber CSA. Intramuscular fat content was not related to fiber type composition (r(g) = -.05 to .06), whereas it was positively related to fiber CSA (r(g) = .68). Type IIBw fiber percentage was related to pH at 30 min (r(g) = -.46), pH at 24 h (r(g) = -.62), glycolytic potential (r(g) = .31), and lightness of color (r(g) = .55) of longissimus muscle.

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