Carcass traits, muscle characteristics, and palatability attributes of lambs expressing the callipyge phenotype.
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Dorset x Suffolk crossbred wethers expressing a normal phenotype (normal, n = 10) and callipyge phenotype (CLPG, n = 9) were fed individually and slaughtered upon reaching maximum growth potential. Carcass weight did not differ (P > 0.05), but fat thickness was lower (0.30 vs. 0.56 cm), ribeye area was greater (24.4 vs. 16.6 cm2), and USDA yield grade was improved (1.6 vs. 2.6) for CLPG carcasses (P < 0.05). Carcasses from CLPG demonstrated higher cutability and a more desirable muscle to bone ratio, with less fat and more lean as a percentage of total side weight (P < 0.05). Biceps femoris (BF), semitendinosus (ST), semimembranosus (SM), longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL), and triceps brachii (TB) were used to compare muscle characteristics of both phenotypes. Muscle from normal lambs had lower calpastatin activity, higher fat percentages and lower moisture percentages (P < 0.05). Total amount and solubility of collagen were not affected by phenotype nor was sarcomere length. Shear force and trained sensory attributes were evaluated for BF and LTL only. Shear force values did not differ between normal and CLPG BF while CLPG LTL had higher (P < 0.05) shear force values than normal LTL. Biceps femoris did not differ between phenotypes in trained sensory panel ratings. However, CLPG LTL received the lowest sensory ratings for connective tissue amount and myofibrillar and overall tenderness (6.11, 4.97, and 4.95, respectively) and the normal LTL received the highest ratings (P < 0.05; 7.10, 7.00, and 6.90, respectively). The CLPG phenotype had a positive influence on carcass characteristics but had a negative influence on tenderness of some muscles, possibly through the myofibrillar component of the muscle.