This noteworthy breakthrough by the GENTEC research team has allowed
pig breeders to make progress in improving the average carcass value
of their slaughter pigs.
An imprinted QTL at the IGF2locus for more uniformity in slaughter
pigs related to higher muscle mass and lower fat deposition.
GENTEC has been directly involved in the discovery of a gene marker
called BETTERgen® muscle+ which through testing, identifies boars
capable of breeding progeny with improved predictability of a higher
lean meat content along with uniformity. Enhanced uniformity means
less waste, which eventually will lead to cash saved and earned.
GENTEC has worked closely with researchers at the University of Liège
in Belgium and the University of Agricultural Sciences at Uppsala in Sweden
to accommodate practical pig production with high technology.The marker
gene is expressed through a unique inheritance method, paternal imprinting.
This means that the gene only is active when inherited from the father,
only the allele of the father will be expressed. Homozygous boars that pass
the good allele to all offspring, will produce slaughter pigs with a higher
average muscle mass, regardless of the genotype of the mother for this gene.
Data research supports earlier suggestions of significant increases in ham
and loin yields in pigs that have inherited the favourable allele from their
For pig farmers, the BETTERgen® muscle+ enhances their ability
to profitably produce slaughter pigs with a consistent quality as well as
adding to their ability to supply specific markets with distinct pigs in
a reliable manner. It also means pig producers will be able to work with
terminal boars whose predictability and breeding values are increased.
The effects of the BETTERgen® muscle+ marker on the lean meat content and backfat
are as significant as those reported for the Halothane gene (HAL 1843),
but without the negative effect on the susceptibility to stress as measured
by the Halothane test or the negative impact on meat quality as it decreases
the pH of the meat correspondingly increasing its moisture level.
Among the other advantages of this gene marker is that the test can be made on
a newborn piglet and a result received within a few working days. This enables
important selection decisions to be made quickly and accurately. The test
itself is made by taking a blood sample and recovering the DNA by solvent
extraction. That part of the DNA where the marker is localised is then amplified
by PCR technology so that the DNA band can be measured in gel by electrophoresis.
The impact of the BETTERgen® muscle+ will be to substantially raise the
average value of the load (eliminate the worst grading 25%) to the farmer
and the processor by facilitating the growth of more uniform pigs. Using
genetic products will allow farm businesses to succeed by reducing costs,
boosting lean meat content, producing excellent carcass and it does all
this without any negative effect on meat quality.
Adding value with uniformity
"Grant us the wisdom to change the things we can" goes one saying.
Top Grade price for pigs is rarely one of them but implementing
a "drive to uniformity" by getting more pigs into the best paying
grades certainly is. Enhanced uniformity means less waste. Waste
avoided means cash saved and cash earned.
Recent market research by the company clearly shows that minimising
the number of pigs falling in the lower grades has a greater bottom
line impact than chasing the heights of the "Top" grade."Keeping
pigs in range" is the key phrase here. BETTERgen® muscle+ offers
the genetic possibility to push a far higher proportion of lower
grading pigs into the higher payment categories.