Beef Cattle Section, Newe-Ya’ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Ramat Yishay, 30095, Israel
Baladi, (B taurus; DAGRIS) a native cattle breed found throughout the entire Southern Mediterranean basin, is known for its high disease resistance and hardiness. Baladi cows in Israel and Southern Mediterranean basin are endangered due to the introduction of larger and more productive European breeds in these regions. In order to promote conservation initiatives of Baladi by stakeholders, the yet unexplored production traits, over their well accepted adaptation to the harsh Mediterranean conditions, were sought in the current study. Aiming at locating the genetic potential of Baladi for meat quality, the allelic and genotypic frequencies of four polymorphisms in CAST, CAPN1, DGAT1, and FASN genes, previously reported to be associated with meat quality traits, were compared to four cattle breeds. The other four breeds included Limousine, Holstein, Simmental and Brahman cattle, which represent beef, dairy, dual-purpose and indicine bovine members, respectively. Relative to the four bovine members, Baladi cattle exhibited high frequencies of the increasing alleles and genotypes in all four SNPs associated with meat tenderness or fat deposition. These findings, along with future phenotyping and genomic profiling of meat quality related markers, and the well-established adaptability to the challenging Mediterranean pasture conditions, may promote conservation initiatives of Baladi cattle by stakeholders.
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