Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Transl. Anim. Sci. 2020.4:1238–1246 doi: 10.1093/tas/txaa077




The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of genetic panel marbling indexes [Igenity (IT) and PredicGEN (PG)] to predict marbling and tenderness of crossbred cattle. Steers (n = 23) were harvested at the University of Idaho Meat Science Laboratory, and blood samples were submitted to Neogen and Zoetis for genetic panel analysis. Forty-eight hours postharvest, one boneless strip loin was collected from each carcass, and six 2.54-cm thick steaks were cut from each strip loin. Steaks were aged for 14 and 21 d and assigned to consumer sensory evaluation or Warner–Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF) analysis. Results were analyzed using the Mixed Model procedure of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC). Carcasses were grouped by marbling index score into Low IT (IT indexes 3–6; n = 16; marbling score (MS) = 410), High IT (IT indexes 7–10; n = 7; MS = 496), Low PG (PG index <50; n = 9; MS = 398), or High PG (PG index ≥50; n = 14; MS = 458). Mean MS was observed to be greater in High IT steaks than Low IT (P < 0.01) and greater in High PG steaks than Low PG (P = 0.01). There was a trend observed in WBSF between IT marbling groups (P = 0.06); however, no difference in WBSF was observed between PG marbling groups (P = 0.83). Consumers did not report differences between IT marbling groups in terms of acceptability (P = 0.99) or tenderness (P = 0.24). Additionally, consumers could not detect differences between PG marbling groups in terms of acceptability (P = 0.75) or tenderness (P = 0.40). Consumers consistently preferred Choice steaks over Select steaks in terms of acceptability (P = 0.02) and tenderness (P = 0.02). In conclusion, though consumers were not able to tell the difference between steaks from each of the genetic panels, using genetic panels to predict marbling, in conjunction with proper nutrition and handling practices, could be a beneficial tool to producers making decisions about retaining ownership at the feedlot.