Alta Genetics, an international seamen collection and marketing service offers the first gene marker for a production trait in beef cattle. GeneSTAR Marbling is a DNA diagnostic test for the presents of the thyroglobulin gene, which has been associated with increased incidence of marbling in beef cattle.

“The GeneSTAR Marbling marker is only one of the genes associated with marbling, so it is only part of the marbling puzzle in terms of genetics," says Jay Hetzel, founder of Australia based Genetic Solutions, Pty. Ltd., which developed GeneSTAR.

There are more genes associated with marbling but this is the first one to be identified. The GeneSTAR Marbling marker does not replace EPD's, but aids as a tool to increase accuracy in selection for specific traits.

The test enables cattle breeders to select individuals that carry one or two copies of the favorable allele. The test identifies whether cattle carry two copies, one copy, or no copies of the high marbling form of the thyroglobulin gene.

In tests so far, yearling-fed cattle with two copies of the thyroglobulin gene have produced 16 percent more Choice grade cattle than animals carrying one copy of the gene and 27 percent more than the yearling-feds containing no copies of the gene.

In another study, calf-feds with two copies of the gene accounted for 12 percent more choice grade carcasses than animals with one copy and 19 percent more than animals with no copies.

It is also possible for an animal with no copies of the gene to sire cattle that can grade choice. The GeneSTAR Marbling marker does not replace EPD's, but aids as a tool to increase accuracy in selection for specific traits.

Alta Genetics is Excited to share their list of sires that carry either two copies(homozygous) or one copy(heterozygous) of the GeneSTAR marker. If you have any questions or would like to locate your nearest Alta Beef Rep, e-mail beefusa@altagenetics.com or call our USA beef office at 1-800-927-2855