F94L, dubbed as the ‘profit gene’, increases the size of muscle fibres with no adverse effect on birth weight, calving ease, fertility or longevity.
The gene has a high frequency in Limousin and Aubrac cattle but has a lower frequency in other breeds; the gene is also found in Charolais cattle, according to the breed society.
Those that carry two copies of F94L, known as homozygous animals, exhibit the aforementioned traits. They are much more efficient at producing beef as they consume the same quantity of feed as animals that do not carry any copies of the gene.
Researchers at Adelaide University, Australia discovered that the gene increases the weight of prime cuts by 19% and overall beef yield by 7%.
Along with an increase in yield, meat quality is also better with reduced fat and higher rates of tenderness.
The results of the study was published in a scientific journal entitled Animal Genetics in 2008.
DNA tests for myostatin are available in Ireland. From January 1st, 2020, all animals entered into the Irish Charolais Cattle Society show and sales must be genomic-tested and verified prior to the closing date for entries.
By doing so, it will allow the society to request the myostatin status of each animal entered in society sales and include their myostatin status in sale catalogues.
The society confirmed that it will cover the cost of the myostatin test for each animal entered in society sales for the first year (2020), which is €6/animal.
Speaking to That’s Farming recently, Noel McGoldrick, president of the Irish Charolais Cattle Society, said: “We are going to be the first society to have all males and females myostatin tested pre-sale – this information will be displayed in sale catalogues.”