DNA Frequently Asked Questions

When do I have to DNA test an animal?

I received a genetic hold letter. Is my calf a carrier of a genetic defect? Not necessarily.

For natural calves (not ET), the defect risk is always tracked from the sire’s side and can be cleared by testing as far back in that sire’s pedigree as possible. For an ET calf, the hold can be generated from the sire or donor dam so make sure to check the TraitTrac display of both parents to determine the necessary defect testing. Do ASA’s genetic defect testing requirements match those put in place by sales management and bull tests? Not always. Sales managers and bull tests may require additional testing depending on their requirements. It is always best to follow up with the specific sales manager or bull test on the testing requirements prior to ordering DNA kits from ASA to ensure the animal can be sold through that venue. I purchased semen on a bull and found out he is not approved for AI. Does the owner of the bull have to test him? It is not required that this cost is incurred by the owner, i.e., if a semen company is marketing the semen on the sire they might pay for and submit the necessary testing. ASA suggests contacting the bull’s owner or seller of the semen to encourage them to complete the testing. But, if you cannot reach the owner or person/business semen was purchased from anyone can send in a straw of semen and pay for the required testing by contacting ASA. Do other associations require the same testing?     Each association has different requirements. If a sire/dam is registered with ASA from another breed certificate, additional testing may be required to register progeny with ASA. Make sure to contact ASA with any questions prior to progeny being born to avoid delays at registration time. How long does take to get DNA results?     Given the above timeline, it could take 2 months for breeders to have results from the time they order their kit. If the breeder needs the results by December 15th and all goes well, they should order their kit by October 15th.  There are several points along this chain that could speed up or delay results (for instance, postage rates, type of DNA testing, etc.).  Watch for the next issue where we delve deeper into proper sample collection and ways to avoid delays. 

Ten things you can do to ensure a smooth DNA testing process:

1. Familiarize yourself with ASA’s DNA testing requirements.

2. Contact the sale, bull test, show, etc., you may participate in to be clear of their DNA requirements.   

3.  Order kits early (at least two months before you need results) by contacting the ASA — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 406-5874531. Please follow instructions and have all required information before calling. 

4. Use a blood card, TSU, or hair card for collection. NEVER send vials of blood, bags of hair, etc. to the lab. 

 5. Follow the instructions for collection included with your kits. Failure to collect the samples properly may result in samples failing testing — watch for more information in the October issue.

6. If you make a mistake, ie. collect sample from the wrong animal, etc., do NOT send the sample to the lab. If you do, contact ASA immediately. 

7.  Never send kits to the lab without either ordering them for specific animals. If you have blank kits, always complete paperwork with the DNA department before mailing samples. 

 8. Send samples to the lab as soon as they are ready. Getting them out the door ensures faster processing and less time for paperwork to get mixed up. 

9. Check your email for results. 10. If you have a question, ASA is happy to help. Please have your membership number and information on the animal you are inquiring about (ASA number, tattoo, etc.). Ten 

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Down to the Genes Series

Focus on Genetic Conditions Testing and Genetic Holds

March 15, 2019 Down to the Genes Series ASA
In the last issue of Down to the Genes we defined the genetic conditions tracked in the American Simmental Association’s TraitTrac, and walked readers through using a Punnett Square to assess the likelihood of affected or carrier progeny from carrier parents. This month, we focus on what to do when an animal has a genetic hold, how to order genetic conditions testing, and how to interpret test…
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