Genetic parameters for 54 carcass and chemical traits, such as general composition (moisture, crude fat and crude protein), fatty acid composition and water-soluble compounds (free amino acids, peptides, nucleotides and sugars) of 587 commercial Japanese Black cattle were assessed. Heritability estimates for carcass traits and general composition ranged between 0.19-0.28, whereas those for fatty acid composition ranged between 0.11-0.85. Most heritability estimates for water-soluble compounds were lower than 0.30; these traits were affected by aging period. Moderate heritability was observed for glutamine, alanine, taurine, anserine, inosine 5-monophosphate (IMP), inosine and myo-inositol. In particular, heritability estimates were the highest (0.66) for taurine. Traits with moderate heritability were unaffected by aging period, with the exception of IMP, which was affected by aging period but exhibited moderate heritability (0.47). Although phenotypic correlations of water-soluble compounds with carcass weight (CW), beef marbling standard (BMS) and monounsaturated fatty acid were generally low, genetic correlations between these traits were low to high. At the genetic level, most of the water-soluble compounds were positively correlated with monounsaturated fatty acid but negatively correlated with CW and BMS. Thus, our results indicate that genetic variance and correlations could exist and be captured for some of the water-soluble compounds.
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