Genetic Parameters of White Striping and Meat Quality Traits Indicative of Pale, Soft, Exudative Meat in Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo)
Frontiers in Genetics
Due to the increasing prevalence of growth-related myopathies and abnormalities in turkey meat, the ability to include meat quality traits in poultry breeding strategies is an issue of key importance. In the present study, genetic parameters for meat quality traits and their correlations with body weight and meat yield were estimated using a population of purebred male turkeys. Information on live body, breast, thigh, and drum weights, breast meat yield, feed conversion ratio, breast lightness
... L*), redness (a*), and yellowness (b*), ultimate pH, and white striping (WS) severity score were collected on 11,986 toms from three purebred genetic lines. Heritability and genetic and partial phenotypic correlations were estimated for each trait using an animal model with genetic line, hatch week-year, and age at slaughter included as fixed effects. Heritability of ultimate pH was estimated to be 0.34 ± 0.05 and a range of 0.20 ± 0.02 to 0.23 ± 0.02 for breast meat colour (L*, a*, and b*). White striping was also estimated to be moderately heritable at 0.15 ± 0.02. Unfavorable genetic correlations were observed between body weight and meat quality traits as well as white striping, indicating that selection for increased body weight and meat yield may decrease pH and increase the incidence of pale meat with more severe white striping. The results of this analysis provide insight into the effect of current selection strategies on meat quality and emphasize the need to include meat quality traits into future selection indexes for turkeys.