via Bovine Carcass Merit Project
HARTLAND, Wis. (June 13, 2008) The opportunity for beef producers to satisfy consumer demand for consistent, high-quality beef may be closer to reality through the Carcass Merit Project (CMP). Following its acquisition of Bovigen, the original commercial sponsor, Pfizer Animal Genetics is now collaborating on the project with a group of universities led by Texas A&M University. The project, which includes data contributed by 14 breed associations, is coordinated by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and primarily funded by Beef Checkoff Program dollars.
The CMP was created with the ultimate goal of identifying and commercializing genetic markers associated with improved meat quality, resulting in greater consumer satisfaction and enhanced producer profitability through the development of higher-value beef.
"The CMP is one of the most important projects undertaken by the beef industry in recent years," said Dr. David Lunt, Professor, Associate Head of Operations, and McGregor Research Center Superintendent at Texas A&M University. "The outcomes of this project will make possible over time basic changes to the genetic base of beef cattle in the United States with the specific target of improving producers' ability to meet consumer demands for product satisfaction."
Gene marker technology identifies animals with superior carcass traits prior to harvest. Since heritable traits are permanent, these genetic traits can be passed on to future generations creating offspring with enhanced carcass quality. Over time this will help enhance product consistency and increase the opportunity for consumers to have a positive eating experience with a high-quality, tender product.
"Over the last decade the beef industry has increasingly focused on providing the most palatable and economical product possible to our customers, the beef consumer," says NCBA Senior Vice President of Research, Education and Innovation Bo Reagan. "Much of this work has focused on postharvest technologies. This project, however, focuses on how we can make at least as much progress toward addressing consumer demands by improving the genetics within the industry."
Commenting on project progress, Calvin Gunter, Director of Corporate Development with Pfizer Animal Genetics, says "Our scientists have conducted an initial analysis of associations between genotypic and phenotypic information in the CMP data base. Now, with the added resources of Pfizer Animal Health, we expect to move quickly toward identifying and validating valuable new marker panels for key carcass traits."
Pfizer Animal Genetics is completely invested in and committed to the cattle genetics industry, says Nigel Evans, Vice President, Animal Genetics for Pfizer Animal Health. We are dedicated to accelerating the delivery of new genetic tools based on the CMP program. These technologies will enable producers to capture higher profits from higher-value carcasses, and help meet consumer demand for high-quality, tender and flavorful beef on the dinner table.
Pfizer Animal Genetics is a business unit of Pfizer Animal Health, a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines. Pfizer Inc. is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company.
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