Karisa, B. K., Thomson, J., Wang, Z., Bruce, H. L., Plastow, G. S. and Moore, S. S. 2013. Candidate genes and biological pathways associated with carcass quality traits in beef cattle. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 93: 295-306. The objective of this study was to use the candidate gene approach to identify the genes associated with carcass quality traits in beef cattle steers at the University of Alberta Ranch at Kinsella, Canada. This approach involved identifying positional candidate genes and prioritizing them according to their functions into functional candidate genes before performing statistical association analysis. The positional candidate genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were identified from previously reported quantitative trait loci for component traits including body weight, average daily gain, metabolic weight, feed efficiency and energy balance. Positional candidate genes were then prioritized into functional candidate genes according to the associated gene ontology terms and their functions. A total of 116 genes were considered functional candidate genes and 117 functional SNPs were genotyped and used for multiple marker association analysis using ASReml®. Seven SNPs were significantly associated with various carcass quality traits (P=0.005). The significant genes were associated with biological processes such as fat, glucose, protein and steroid metabolism, growth, energy utilization and DNA transcription and translation as inferred from the protein knowledgebase (UniprotKB). Gene network analysis indicated significant involvement of biological processes related to fat and steroid metabolism and regulation of transcription and translation of DNA.
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