Scientists at West Texas A&M University are one step closer to helping ranchers produce a herd of cattle that consistently produces the highest-quality beef per animal, along with more beef per animal.
In 2012, the University successfully cloned a bull, which they named Alpha, from the carcass of a steer that graded Prime, Yield Grade 1 – the best combination of quality grade and yield grade in the U.S.
Such a rating is only achieved by about 0.03 percent of all beef carcasses. Three heifers were cloned from another Prime, Yield Grade 1 carcass. While not clones themselves, the 13 calves of Alpha and the heifers were the first bovine offspring ever produced from two cloned carcasses. Last month, seven of them were harvested. The seven steer carcasses were evaluated by a third-party USDA beef grading supervisor and graded significantly above the industry average.
The project’s lead researcher, Ty Lawrence, says “by cloning and crossing these rare genetics, we have demonstrated the ability to create exactly what the market desires.”