Piedmontese cattle are exceptional animals within the cattle kingdom. As far as quality meat production, they operate on a higher level than their peers. This is due to a naturally occurring anomaly referred to as "double muscling." Meat animal scientists believe this double muscling in Pied cattle was naturally developed by the breed's ancestors, the Italian native Aurochs and the Pakistani-bred Zebu, whom intermixed over centuries as they were used dually as carrier and meat animals in northwestern Italy (the mountainous Piedmont region).
"MyoLean" takes its name from the gene responsible for double muscling in the Piedmontese, myostatin. The myostatin gene is actually responsible for inhibiting the number of muscle fibers in most mammals. But in Piedmontese cattle, the myostatin gene has naturally deactivated itself, resulting in a significant increase of muscle fibers and massive muscle growth in Piedmontese cattle. This inactivity of the myostatin gene in Piedmontese cattle is a natural phenomenon. Fullblooded Piedmontese carry two copies of the inactive myostatin gene, passing along at least one copy of the gene to their offspring.
Tests conducted at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, indicate that the muscularity brought on by the myostatin gene allows even halfblooded Piedmontese animals to yield almost seven percent more beef with 14 percent less fat per carcass than today's conventional beef cattle.
For these reasons, Piedmontese cattle have been Italy's most popular
beef breed for years and are common throughout Europe.