a1 Laboratoire de Recherches sur la Viande de I'INRA, 78350 Jouy en Josas, France
A total of 52 ram lambs of different morphological types slaughtered at a comparable stage of body development (carcass weights = 19·5 (s.d. 3·10) kg) were used to study the variation in the relationship between muscle and bone development in the hind limb using multivariate techniques. Development of individual muscles was expressed relative to the weight of the major bone to which they are closest, considered here as their carrier bone.
Variability of muscle: bone ratios of individual muscles varied considerably from one muscle to another. The coefficient of variation (CV) ranging from 0·111 to 0·462 (average CV = 0·199). Relative to the same bone, the variability of muscle: bone ratios for each of the three anatomical regions of the hind limb was still important. This suggests that variability may be due to other factors besides muscle weight, such as bone shape.
The correlation between the various muscle: bone ratios was low in some cases. However, a significant association existed between muscle: bone ratios of individual muscles and the total muscle: bone ratio in the hind limb which indicated that some muscle: bone ratios can be used as indicators of muscling in the selection of meat animals such as m. semimembranosus/femm, m. gluteobiceps/femur, m. adductores/'femur and m. semitendinosus/femur.
The most discriminant variables of the population in multivariate analysis were m. soleus/tibia, m. extensor digitorium lateralis/tibia, m. quadmtus femoris/coxal, m. gemelli/coxal and m. vastus medialis/femur. It was also possible to distinguish the different morphological types of the different breeds by the values of the ratios between these variables.
(Received September 13 1987)
(Accepted July 19 1988)
p1 Present address: Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain-Shams University, Shoubra El-Kheima, Cairo, Egypt