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Carcass and meat characteristics of sheep with an additional growth hormone gene

Adams, N.R., Briegel, J.R., Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 and Cake, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0072-9024 (2006) Carcass and meat characteristics of sheep with an additional growth hormone gene. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 57 (12). pp. 1321-1325.

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Effects of high growth hormone (GH) activity on body composition and some aspects of meat quality were examined in sheep transgenic for an additional copy of the ovine GH gene, as a tool to explore the biological importance of the GH axis in sheep selected commercially for meat production. Carcasses of 16 GH and 25 control mixed-sex sheep aged 45 months, and 6 GH and 6 control ewes aged 20 months, were measured. The dressing percentage was lower in the GH sheep (P < 0.001). The GH sheep had similar muscle mass to controls, but the weight of their fat depots was reduced (P < 0.001) to approximately 40% of controls, whereas limb-bone mass was 43% greater (P < 0.001) than controls. Fore and hind limbs were equally affected. Skin and most internal organs were heavier, particularly the pancreas, kidney, alimentary canal, and the liver. The concentration of intramuscular fat in the GH sheep was only 27% that of controls (P < 0.001), whereas the average pH of muscle 24 h after slaughter and the melting point of subcutaneous fat were both increased (P < 0.05). Similar changes in organ weights and body composition have been observed in sheep selectively bred to enhance lamb growth rate or to decrease fatness, suggesting that relative GH activity contributed to the outcomes of those experiments. This study indicates the importance of a multi-trait breeding objective to ensure that mechanisms associated with GH do not impair meat quality.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright: © CSIRO 2006.
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