An independent validation association study of carcass quality, shear force, intramuscular fat percentage and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content with gene markers in Australian lamb
Previous association studies revealed several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that explained the observed phenotypic variation for meat tenderness and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content of Australian lamb. To confirm the validity of these associated SNPs at predicting meat tenderness and omega-3 PUFA content, an independent validation study was designed. The OvineSNP50 genotypes of these animals were used to impute the 192 SNP Meat Quality Research (MQR) panel genotypes on nearly 6200 animals from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation Information Nucleus Flock and Sheep Genomics Falkiner Memorial Field Station flock. Association analysis revealed numerous SNP from the 192 SNP MQR panel that were associated with carcass quality - fat depth at the C-site and eye muscle depth; shear force at day 1 and day 5 after slaughter (SF1 and SF5); and omega-3 PUFA content at P<0.01. However, 1 SNP was independently validated for SF5 (i.e. CAST_101781475). The magnitude of the effect of each significant SNP and the relative allele frequencies across Merino-, Maternal- and Terminal-sired progeny was determined. The independently validated SNP for SF5 and the associated SNP with omega-3 PUFA content will accelerate efforts to improve these phenotypic traits in Australian lamb.