Date of this Version
Restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) have been identified at the bovine calpastatin locus. The objective of the present study was to determine whether these polymorphisms are related to variations in calpastatin activity or beef tenderness in unrelated animals of mixed breeding. A sample of 83 crossbred steers from sires representing eight different breeds was examined to determine this relationship. A 2.2-kb cDNA coding for domains 2 through 4 plus a 3untranslated region of bovine skeletal muscle calpastatin was used as a probe for calpastatin RFLP. Polymorphisms were found using the restriction enzymes BamHI and EcoRI. Polymorphic restriction fragments for BamHI were 9.0 and 5.0 kb and for EcoRI were 6.0 and 4.0 kb. Allelic frequencies for BamHI restriction fragments were .53 for the 9.0-kb allele and .47 for the 5.0-kb allele. Allelic frequencies for EcoRI restriction fragments were .43 for the 6.0-kb allele and .57 for the 4.0-kb allele. No polymorphisms were identified using the restriction enzymes BglII, DraI, or PstI. No associations between EcoRI and BamHI RFLP and 24-h calpastatin activity or Warner-Bratzler shear force at 14 d postmortem were detected. Therefore, the polymorphic EcoRI and BamHI restriction sites within the bovine calpastatin locus do not detect DNA sequence differences responsible for variation in calpastatin activity or tenderness of aged beef. Therefore, these polymorphisms cannot be used to predict tenderness of aged beef from unrelated animals of mixed breeding. These results do not exclude the possibility that other DNA sequences in or near the bovine calpastatin gene are responsible for variation in calpastatin activity or meat tenderness. The lack of a relationship between these calpastatin RFLP and meat tenderness must be distinguished from the well-documented relationship between calpastatin activity and meat tenderness. Therefore, further development of calpastatin-based methods for predicting beef tenderness in unrelated animals of mixed breeding should focus on basic factors influencing calpastatin activity at the molecular and cellular level.