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JSR and Darby Genetics introduce important new pork marbling scoring system

by 5m Editor
28 February 2006, at 12:00am

UK - JSR Genetics and their South Korean partners Darby Genetics have combined their research resources, under the joint leadership of JSR's Director of Research Dr Grant Walling and Darby's leading geneticist Il Joo Lee, to pioneer a brand new mechanism for including marbling scores in genetic evaluations of pork lines.

JSR Genetics on ThePigSite.com

The new scoring has been applied to Darby's Duroc nucleus in South Korea and the resulting product, the 'Marbler-S Boar' is expected to show significant improvements for this important trait in the Korean marketplace.

Marbling has traditionally been a difficult trait to improve through breeding because it cannot be accurately measured on the live animal. Instead information has to be captured from slaughtered animals making it hard to obtain for nucleus stock. To overcome this problem the team accompanied surplus nucleus stock to the slaughterhouse to collect the relevant information during the processing of the carcasses.

The resulting data was subject to careful analysis by the geneticist to determine how best to model genetic relevance. It is estimated that traits such as marbling have heritabilities of between 12 - 20% and that modest improvements can therefore be expected through careful genetic selection. As data accumulates it is anticipated that the heritability of the marbling trait can be improved and will therefore show an increased response to selection.

The estimated breeding values (EBVs) for marbling are sufficiently high in the Korean market to allow the trait to be included, with appropriate weighting, in the selection index.

"This project demonstrates very clearly the kind of work we are currently undertaking to tailor our products more accurately to meet the requirements of specific markets, says Dr Walling. "We now have considerable expertise in producing high quality breeding stock tailored to quality eating pork markets in both Asia and Europe. "We have developed this new marbling score for inclusion in the Korean indices specifically because we have identified it as economically important in the Korean pork chain."

Now that the concept has been established and proved in the marbling area JSR is keen to look at other ways and sources to harvest post slaughter data to add further refinement to the breeding and selection process. "The increased use of AutoFOM across Europe could potentially deliver huge quantities of invaluable post slaughter data, that it is simply not feasible or economically viable to collect at the moment," explains Dr Walling.

"With the gathering pace of the trend towards an integrated supply chain in pork meat, this kind of data will help us to provide information about our breeding lines that will be of value to all the members of the chain," he continued. "As a major International player in pig genetics we have a stated aim to be at the forefront of these developments and we think the marbling index is evidence of our ability and commitment to meet our objectives" he concludes.

Source: JSR Genetics - 28th January 2006

5m Editor