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Limited genetic antagonism between premium cuts yield and intramuscular fat content in Iberian pigs

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Authors: J. García-Casco, A. Fernández, E. de Pedro, C. Rodríguez, L. Silió
Issue: 104-2 (169-174)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: Intramuscular fat, Carcass composition, Genetic correlation, Iberian pigs

The production of Iberian pigs is mainly focused to obtain raw meat to elaborate dry-cured products of high sensorial quality, mainly influenced by the intramuscular fat content. The objective of this work was to estimate the genetic correlations between intramuscular fat content in M. longissimus, measured using NIRS technology, and the main productive traits: percentages on carcass weight of hams, forelegs and loins, and the daily growth along the final fattening period. Records for this analysis came from 6,103 castrate males, born in 56 herds and controlled by AECERIBER from 1993 to 2007. All the animals were fattened with a common extensive management system and slaughtered, distributed in 79 batches, at approximately 160 kg. Heritability estimates presented high values for all the traits (ranging between 0.37 and 0.48) indicating that the selection for these traits could be effective. Genetic correlations between percentages of premium cuts were high and positive (from 0.36 to 0.69). This fact indicates that these traits are partially controlled by the same group of genes. Genetic correlations between intramuscular fat content and the daily growth and percentage of forelegs showed estimated values statistically non different from cero. However, significant negative values of genetic correlations were estimated between intramuscular fat content and the percentages of hams (-0.19 ± 0.04) and loins (-0.23 ± 0.03). These last values indicate that a strong selection in Iberian pigs focused to the improvement of the carcass percentage of premium cuts, could cause a deterioration of the meat suitability for dry-curing in a medium-time horizon.

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