U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



J. Anim. Sci. 2012.90:2410–2423


U.S. Government Work


The potential interaction of growth promoting implants and genetic markers previously reported to be associated with growth, carcass traits, and tenderness was evaluated. Two implant protocols were applied to subsets of steers (n = 383) and heifers (n = 65) that were also genotyped for 47 SNP reported to be associated with variation in growth, fat thickness, LM area, marbling, or tenderness. The “mild” protocol consisted of a single terminal implant [16 mg estradiol benzoate (EB), 80 mg trenbalone acetate (TBA) or 8 mg EB, 80 mg TBA given to steers and heifers, respectively]. The “aggressive” protocol consisted of both a growing implant (8 mg EB, 40 mg TBA) for the lightest half of the animals on the aggressive protocol and 2 successive implants (28 mg EB, 200 mg TBA) given to all animals assigned to the aggressive treatment. Implant protocol had measurable impact on BW and ADG (P < 0.05), with the aggressive protocol increasing these traits before the terminal implant (relative to the mild protocol), whereas the mild protocol increased ADG after the terminal implant so that the final BW and ADG over the experimental period were similar between protocols. Animals on the aggressive protocol had significantly increased (P < 0.05) LM area (1.9 cm2), slice shear force (1.4 kg), and intact desmin (0.05 units), but decreased (P < 0.05) marbling score (49 units) and adjusted fat thickness (0.1 cm), and yield grade (0.15 units). Among both treatments, 8 of 9 growth-related SNP were associated with BW or ADG, and 6 of 17 tenderness-related SNP were associated with slice shear force or intact desmin. Favorable growth alleles generally were associated with increased carcass yield traits but decreased tenderness. Similarly, favorable tenderness genotypes for some markers were associated with decreased BW and ADG. Some interactions of implant protocol and genotype were noted, with some growth SNP alleles increasing the effect of the aggressive protocol. In contrast, putative beneficial effects of favorable tenderness SNP alleles were mitigated by the effects of aggressive implant. These type of antagonisms of management variables and genotypes must be accounted for in marker assisted selection (MAS) programs, and our results suggest that MAS could be used to manage, but likely will not eliminate negative impact of implants on quality.