Putting the two findings together, MARC researchers teamed up with scientists at the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre in New Zealand and within months were able to show that changes in the bovine myostatin gene cause double muscling
. Similar results were reported from a team of European labs.
Mr Ashton was among the first British livestock breeders to recognise the advantages of double muscling
in meat-producing animals.
ABSTRACT : The myostatin gene of seven important meat (Beltex (Australia), Beltex x Huyang (F1), Meat and Multi-Prolific Chinese Merino Fine Wool, Meat Chinese Merino Fine Wool and Dorper (South Africa)) and non-meat (Huyang and Kazak) sheep breeds was analyzed to study the genetic basis of muscular hypertrophy (double muscling
) phenotype in sheep.
Several cattle breeds are characterized by double muscling
phenotype (an increase in the number of normal-sized muscle fibers that result in enlarged muscles with deep creases) caused by six different loss-of-function mutations at the MSTN locus (Grobet et al., 1997; Kambadur et al., 1997; Karim et al., 2001).