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Genetics & DNA Testing

CLASSIFYING AMERICAN RAISED WAGYU BEEF - Crossbred, Purebred, & Fullblood

Only 0.029% of the total U.S. cattle count of 89.9 million qualifies as Fullblood or Purebred Wagyu.  In fact, there are less than 5,000 Fullblood Wagyu cattle in the U.S.

Double 8 Cattle Company is one of only a handful of farms raising 100% Fullblood Wagyu in the United States. 100% Fullblood Wagyu differ from most Wagyu being raised in the States, which often fall into the categories of Crossbred (F1, F2, F3) or Purebred (F4). The term "American Wagyu"  has been adopted as marketing term for Wagyu beef that is Crossbred or Purebred Wagyu.

At Double 8 Cattle Company, we only raise 100% Fullblood Japanese Black Wagyu. Our cattle are direct descendants of Japanese Wagyu with unmixed ancestry. They are certified and registered with the American Wagyu Association, and their DNA can traced to their original ancestors in Japan. Our Wagyu have never been crossbred with other cattle breeds, such as Angus.

BEEF TENDERNESS

DNA testing provides pre-harvest information on beef quality, specifically on marbling (a measure of the intramuscular fat) and tenderness (how much shear force does it takes to cut/chew a piece of meat). While Wagyu in general is known for its abundant marbling and tenderness, genetics play a significant role in both characteristics. The American Beef Industry has found an exceptional correlation between DNA marker testing scores (scale of 1 – 10) and post-harvest meat tenderness testing.

67% of Double 8 Cattle Co. Wagyu bred for premium beef products have tenderness scores between 6 and 10. In addition, 33% have tenderness scores between 9 and 10.

When looking at the cattle population in the United States, only 41% have tenderness scores between 6 and 10.

SCD TESTING

The healthy fat marbling in Wagyu beef, which distinguishes it from other beef, is linked to the different DNA sequences of the Stearoyl CoA Desaturase (SCD) gene family. Double 8 Cattle Co. utilizes SCD Testing, which identifies cattle with the dominant Japanese genotype that produces a superior fat composition. Stearic acid, which corresponds to the amino acid Valine (V), makes deposited fat harder. Oleic acid (an omega-9 monosaturated fatty acid), which corresponds to the amino acid Alanine (A), makes deposited fat softer. The latter is believed to be more palatable to consumers. The resulting genotypes for SCD Testing are VV, VA, and AA, with AA being the most desirable.

Due to our investment in SCD Testing and methodical breeding practices, 92% of Double 8 Cattle Co. Wagyu have the genotype AA. Our breeding strategy ensures oleic acid rich beef with superior marbling and tenderness.

Beef Grades

QUALITY GRADES

Quality grades are key indicators of the beef’s palatability. There are eight different quality grades – Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. Cuts of Prime, Choice, and Select grades are typically found in restaurants and grocery stores, while lower grades are used to manufacture beef products. With only 2% of beef in the U.S. having a quality grade of Prime, 100% of Double 8 Cattle Co. Fullblood Wagyu beef products have a quality grade above Prime.

WAGYU:

Beyond / Above Prime Grade

  

PRIME:

Prime beef is superior quality in terms of maturity, marbling, tenderness, flavor, and texture.

It’s the best beef available and well suited for the most discerning palate.

CHOICE:

Choice beef is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime beef.

Choice beef products are very tender and flavorful.

SELECT:

Select beef is uniform in quality and often leaner than Prime and Choice cuts.

It is fairly tender, but due to less marbling, often lacks the flavor and texture found in higher grades. 

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