Scientists just discovered genes that makes steaks juicier than ever

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A new study just revealed the genes markers that are responsible for meat quality in beef using Genome-Wide Association studies. To determine how tasty the steaks are, scientists used a scoring system called Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) as well as a group tasting panellists. Specifically, the juiciness, tenderness, connective tissue and flavour of the beef are measured using the methods described above.

Then, scientists scanned the entire genomes of hundreds of cows to determine which genes are associated with the quality of the beef. They identified three gene networks, EVC2, ANXA10 and PKHD1, which are linked with the quality of the beef.

So what is the Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF)?

WBSF is a gold-standard of measuring the tenderness of the meat. Tenderness is one of the highest ranking factors for meat quality. WBSF requires specific equipment called the Warner-Bratzler fixture. It is a machine that can measure the force required to cut through a steak. The steaks also need to be prepared in a controlled manner, so that the results can be consistent.

How does Genome-Wide Association studies work?

With Genome-Wide Association studies, scientists are able to notice small differences in the DNA, and therefore categorize some cows into one DNA marker and other cows in another DNA marker. This allows the scientists to observe which DNA marker produces the results significant enough to be associated with the quality of the beef.

Does this mean we all get more delicious beef now?

With several candidate gene networks uncovered in the study, scientists are definitely making further progress to making beef with better quality. But these techniques are probably not commercially available, yet. Well, the steaks in our restaurants today are already pretty good, too.

This study was published in BMC genomics.