Feed-efficient cattle selection is among the most leading solutions to reduce cost for beef cattle production. However, technical difficulties in measuring feed efficiency traits had limited the application in livestock. Here, we performed a Bivariate Genome-Wide Association Study (Bi-GWAS) and presented candidate biological mechanisms underlying the association between feed efficiency and meat quality traits in a half-sibling design with 353 Nelore steers derived from 34 unrelated sires. A total of 13 Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) were found explaining part of the phenotypic variations. An important transcription factor of adipogenesis in cattle, the TAL1 (rs133408775) gene located on BTA3 was associated with intramuscular fat and average daily gain (IMF-ADG), and a region located on BTA20, close to CD180 and MAST4 genes, both related to fat accumulation. We observed a low positive genetic correlation between IMF-ADG (r = 0.30 ± 0.0686), indicating that it may respond to selection in the same direction. Our findings contributed to clarifying the pleiotropic modulation of the complex traits, indicating new QTLs for bovine genetic improvement.
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