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The callipyge mutation and other genes that affect muscle hypertrophy in sheep


Genetic strategies to improve the profitability of sheep operations have generally focused on traits for reproduction. However, natural mutations exist in sheep that affect muscle growth and development, and the exploitation of these mutations in breeding strategies has the potential to significantly improve lamb-meat quality. The best-documented mutation for muscle development in sheep is callipyge (CLPG), which causes a postnatal muscle hypertrophy that is localized to the pelvic limbs and loin. Enhanced skeletal muscle growth is also observed in animals with the Carwell (or rib-eye muscling) mutation, and a double-muscling phenotype has been documented for animals of the Texel sheep breed. However, the actual mutations responsible for these muscular hypertrophy phenotypes in sheep have yet to be identified, and further characterization of the genetic basis for these phenotypes will provide insight into the biological control of muscle growth and body composition.

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Correspondence to Noelle E Cockett.

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Cockett, N.E., Smit, M.A., Bidwell, C.A. et al. The callipyge mutation and other genes that affect muscle hypertrophy in sheep. Genet Sel Evol 37, S65 (2005).

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  • sheep
  • muscle
  • hypertrophy
  • callipyge
  • mutation