The Brazilian beef cattle, besides being one of the main highlights of agribusiness, have a large importance in the world market, because the country has one of the largest beef herds in the world, with around 200 million heads, predominantly animal origin Bos indicus, wherein Nellore breed influences approximately 90% of the population. Effective data for beef production confirmed in 2011 indicate that 16.5% was exported and the large amount (83.5%) were send to the internal market. With increased demand for food worldwide, the quantity and quality of the production of animal protein is an important target of research. For genetic breeding programs, traits like meat quality that, generally have low heritability, present slow genetic gain, mainly because selection is almost absent. Recent advances in biotechnology, the use of high-density beadchip of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP - Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), allow to develop strategies to identify genes or genomic regions responsible for traits of interest, making the selection process faster and more efficient. The method of GWAS (Genome Wide Association Study) compares the results of high density beadchip with thousands of polymorphic markers found in individuals phenotyped for traits of interest, to identify associations of markers, or DNA regions, with those phenotypes. The objective of the study is to apply genome wide association studies (GWAS) to carcass and meat traits measured in Nellore cattle, using technologies especially developed to Bos indicus and released to the market in may/2013.
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