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Verification of Meat from Traditional Cattle and Pig Breeds Using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) DNA Markers


There is a significant price premium attached to meat from traditional breeds such as Aberdeen Angus cattle and Gloucester Old Spot pigs. Concerns exist among consumers and industry that misdescription of such products is taking place and therefore a robust method to allow for identification of meat sourced from traditional breeds.<P>

This project aims to develop a method which can identify pure-bred and also cross-bred raw meat, as well as identifying potentially substituted breeds and thus verify breed labelling information given. Availability of such a method will support local authorities in their enforcement of Food Standards law. It is also hoped that the availability of a method to verify traditional breed labelling will facilitate discussions to define which animals can be described by these breed names.

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Research Approach:<BR> The breed identification assay will be based on SNP DNA markers (single nucleotide difference in the DNA sequence between breeds). Large existing SNP datasets will be utilised and new genotype data created for breeds where there is no information currently available. Datasets will be compared to allow selection of the most informative markers for breed differentiation and transfer to a suitable platform for routine analysis investigated. Validation of the method will be carried out internally to produce quantitative estimates of the accuracy of the method and externally using a series of unknown samples to confirm the utility of the tests for breed identification.

<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

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