Previous work showed that the Texel muscling QTL (TM-QTL) results in pronounced hypertrophy in the loin muscle, with the largest phenotypic effects observed in lambs inheriting a single copy of the allele from the sire. As the loin runs parallel to the spinal vertebrae, and the development of muscle and bone are closely linked, the primary aim of this study was to investigate if there were any subsequent associations between TM-QTL inheritance and underlying spine characteristics (vertebrae number, VN; spine region length, SPL; average length of individual vertebrae, VL) of the thoracic, lumbar, and thoracolumbar spine regions. Spine characteristics were measured from X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans for 142 purebred Texel lambs which had been previously genotyped. Least-squares means were significantly different between genotype groups for lumbar and thoracic VN and lumbar SPL. Similarly for these traits, contrasts were shown to be significant for particular modes of gene action but overall were inconclusive. In general, the results showed little evidence that spine trait phenotypes were associated with differences in loin muscling associated with the different TM-QTL genotypes. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Donaldson, CL., Lambe, NR., Maltin, CA., Knott, S., & Bunger, L. (2014). Effect of the Texel muscling QTL (TM-QTL) on spine characteristics in purebred Texel lambs. Small Ruminant Research, 117(1), 34 - 40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.11.020