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Technoscience

Ham genetic control

French researchers have identified a gene, called RN, whose mutation alters the energetic metabolism of the pig muscles, and, more practically, damages the flavor of ham. This mutation causes and excess of glycogen, a way which glucose is stored, mainly in the liver and in the muscles, and it intensifies the meat’s capacity to retain water. The same consortium of institutions that arrived at this discovery – three units from France’s INRA, the National Institute of Agronomic Research, and the Farm Science University, from Switzerland, and the Christian Albrechts University, from Germany – is now developing a simple and effective genetic test to identify bearers of this mutation, which is most common in animals bred from the Hampshire race.

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