Past Projects

Feed Grains and Feed Efficiency

Liver tissue measures for indirect assessment of feed efficiency in beef cattle

Research Lead: Dr. Steve Miller , University of Guelph

Executive Summary


  • To assess biological changes in response to feed efficiency status to better understand the biological basis associated with feed efficiency.
  • To find potential bio-indicators to indirectly assess feed efficiency.
  • To understand the metabolic effects of selection for improved feed efficiency.



  • Researchers observed that the metabolic rate of liver tissue is well associated with feed efficiency; same is valid for liver micro-structure patterns and blood analytes of liver function.
  • Researchers performed analyses of liver function in the bovine via bile and observed interesting results regarding liver self-defence, which may be important for further research on liver abscesses: a growing problem in the Canadian beef industry.
  • The extensive work conducted on molecular aspects of liver function resulted in the identification of key metabolic pathways connecting function (or protein expression) to the actual genes controlling such specific functions.
  • Considerable progress was made in cattle genomics and feed efficiency through the genotyping of cattle with known feed efficiency.


  • The results indicate that assessments made in the liver tissue are associated with feed efficiency and may be used to indirectly select for improved feed efficiency.

Back to Past Projects