Investigation into the relationship between leptin genotypes, body condition and carcass traits of Nguni and Hereford cattle.
Leptin, a 16 (kilo Dalton) kDa hormone secreted predominantly by white adipocytes, regulates reproduction, energy intake and expenditure, and is involved in immune system function. Previous studies have identified associations between polymorphism E2FB in the leptin gene (lep) of cattle and milk quality and quantity, feed intake, and fat deposition in dairy and beef cattle though further studies have shown inconclusive results. Furthermore, indigenous South African cattle have not been involved in lep investigations or the applicability of the marker in South African beef grading systems. An investigation was conducted into the association of an SNP of a cytosine (C) to thymine (T) SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) mutation in exon 2 of the bovine lep (leptin) gene with weight gain, body condition, carcass fat content and quality in a population of indigenous Nguni cattle (n = 70) as well as a population of exotic British Hereford cattle (n = 54). The Hereford population had higher T-allele frequencies and a lower P-value (P = 0.172) for the E2FB genotypes than the Nguni population (P = 0.958). The resulting E2FB lep genotypes CC, CT and TT did not show an association with the pre- and post-slaughter traits initial live weight (ILW), body condition score (BCS), slaughter live weight (SLW), carcass fat content (FAT), carcass conformation (CFN) or warm carcass mass (WCM) for either population though t-tests revealed an association with the CT genotype with increased ILW than TT and a significantly higher WG in the TT genotypes than the CT (P<0.05). Subsequently, differences in pre- and post-slaughter traits in both populations were largely attributable to breed differences. The Hereford population exhibited significantly higher WG, CFN, SLW, WCM and CCM (P<0.05) than the Nguni population. The Nguni displayed significantly higher ILW and BCS values when graded in terms of the commercial South African AAA feedlot system.
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