Jul 29, 2007

Myostatin STAT!

In the wake of Wendy the Whopper Whippet, Aaron sent me a link to a few more over-muscled critters.
I found the cows on the site to be particularly noteworthy. The sad thing here is that these cows are often bred to isolate the gene that hinders the production of myostatin, resulting in the large, lean muscle mass you see here.

Some advocate eliminating these strains of cattle (the belgian blue below, in particular). I don't know about that, but I do intend to ask the next restaurant that serves me a burger if they serve meat from cattle that have myostatin problems. I'm sure the server will know the answer.

Photos from: Who-Sucks.com

9 comments:

meg said...

lol. double muscling occurs in ALL breeds of cattle at some time or another, it's simply a mistake in the epigenome (so really if you treated a cow embryo with gene therapy any "normal" cattle could grow up to be this).

anyway unless the restauraunt you eat at is VERY fond of belgian blue, charlois, or limousin cattle, the chances of the cattle you eating being double-muscled are very low, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference in taste, anyway.

this really isn't any more "sad" that they're bred to isolate that gene than it is "sad" that we have breeds of dog like pomerenians and greyhounds, and that we have pigs that can reach market weight in just 8 months.

there aren't any domestic critters that we haven't modified their gene line in one way or another, and unlike the breeding that makes bulldogs, toy dogs, most pigs, all chickens, and almost all sheep so different from their wild counterparts, double muscling is not detrimental to the cattle within its' natural lifespan. the lack of myostatin can end up affecting the heart muscles after a while, but then again, the cattle will most likely be in our stomachs by that time. :P

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though that last picture on the page is...hideous. women say they like muscles; I wonder if anyone actually would sleep with him?

nahhhh he's probably too busy working out.

Papvin said...

Actually the Belgian Blue has been bred so fra that it can not give birth in a natural way, and most calfs must be taken by cesaren section.

pkeli said...

Holy crap.

Meg--
SOME women say they like muscles, others have better taste and wouldn't go near a human who looked like this with a 10 foot pole. Very impressive on a bovine though...

meg said...

I sure wouldn't go near him. :P

Papvin-same is true with almost all large-headed dogs (i.e. bulldog, boston terrier, bullmastiff, mastiff, pomerenian, and a lot of other toy dogs).

anyway I'm not advocating the belgian blue at all. it's actually not cost-efficient for a farmer at all, so there's no point. Other commonly double-muscled cows (like the limousin) do not have birthing troubles that require c-section...the most they require is usually just farmer assistance in re-positioning the calf.

Kritter said...

The rear-end view of that belgian blue reminds me of the devil on Ren and Stimpy.

pkeli said...

Uhhh, did anyone (Meg) go into the link and see the photo of the myostatin deficient weightlifter at the very bottom of the page? Never in my life did I think someone could look like this. No offense to the guy but he's the scariest thing I've seen in a long time. I pick Wendy the whippet.

meg said...

Yes, pkeli, I did. :P

He's hideous to the extreme. Though, according to comments on the site it's actually just a shopped body-builder...not that those bodybuilders are especially attractive to begin with...

Bay Views said...

Actually, since you have only shown bulls, which in all breeds tend to muscle up, I think your premise lacks
umm, muscle.

meg said...

Go look at a normal bull. Go look at these bulls. Not the same...

Anywho I've encountered two cows with this (a black angus and a holstien...the holstien cow was absolutely useless for production, though being a university she was kept around for teaching), but it's far far less common for some reason. They do exist, though. But, I'm not a bovine geneticist (yet, at least) so I'm not sure the rate of heritability of this gene.