ASA Policy on Genetic Defects

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Addendum to ASA Genetic Defect Policy - Effective June 1, 2009

Policy and Procedures Resolution - Adopted to describe a suspect for genetic defects and testing policies to identify carriers of genetic defects that have DNA tests available

A. Identifying Suspect Animals
      1. Any animal with a documented carrier in the pedigree, unless the intermediary ancestors are tested-free or designated pedigree-free
     2. Any sire or embryo donor dam with 1/8 blood or more of the defective gene source (breed, line, herd) unless the intermediary ancestors are tested-free or pedigree-free

B. Required Testing
     1. 50 most-used sires (managed and paid by ASA)
     2. All suspect A.I. sires
     3. All suspect natural sires
     4. All progeny of suspect sires, if the suspect sire DNA is unavailable for testing.
     5. All suspect donor dams

C. Managing these policies
     1. Genetic abnormality designations will be real-time. Test completions (DNA determination of carrier or free) will affect animals in downstream pedigrees
     2. Progeny (IF untested suspect sires or suspect donor dams) that has performance data submitted or request to be registered requires compliance (DNA testing) to satisfy B2, B3, B4, or B5

Information Points
     1. For AM (Curly Calf) any untested donor or donor dam, 1/8 or more Angus, with pedigree suspects not tested defect-free or their pedigree not traceable to designated-free ancestors will be defined as suspect
     2. We recognize this allows tested-carrier and potential-carrier females (1680 daughters for example) to enter the ASA database as "commercial Angus cow" and avoid the suspect label. However, labeling commercial Angus females as suspects would create exceptional processing resources and member testing expenses. By a very wide margin, the most cost-effective method to manage genetics is through sire testing. The above recommendations put almost all ASA policy pressure and member social pressure on the bulls where results will be most effective.

 Reporting:  In order to maintain a viable breed relatively free of undesirable genetic factors, and to ensure that today's breeding practices will help tomorrow's Simmental and Simbrah cattle stay free of undesirable traits, it is recommended that every ASA member or breeder of Simmental and Simbrah cattle report the occurrence of an abnormal Simmental or Simbrah animal.  In order for said reports to be recognized as authentic and valid the animal must be DNA sampled to verify parentage.  All animals should also be inspected and the defect diagnosed by a veterinarian or extension specialist.

Abnormal calves should be reported to the ASA Executive Vice President by telephone as soon as they are discovered.  Based on the description of the abnormal animal, and depending on whether it is dead or alive, the association may ask the caller to complete an abnormal calf report.  This can be done over the telephone, or by the owner or their veterinarian.  A DNA sample should be collected from the calf, as well as its sire and dam, and submitted to ASA to verify parentage.

Members are encouraged to send abnormal calves (either dead or alive) to the ASA-approved research facility for examination, or in special cases, the research facility may arrange to examine the animal on location or pick up the animal themselves for examination at their facility.

The ASA will pay the parental validation fees for all abnormal animals and their parents.

To facilitate reporting abnormal Simmental and Simbrah animals, forms are available on the website, or they can be obtained directly from the ASA office.

Monitoring:  The Executive Vice President shall receive, keep on file, and monitor all information concerning abnormalities of any Simmental and Simbrah animal.  The file shall be cross-referenced by sire, by breeder, and by defect; however, the owners' and breeders' names will be kept confidential.  A copy of the abnormality report and parental validation will be sent to the ASA-approved research facility.  The ASA office and owner of the abnormal animal will each receive a copy of the research facility's findings. 

Each case will be handled on an individual basis, and only the individual owner reporting or submitting the abnormal calf report, the association office and the research facility will be informed on the initial diagnosis.  An effort will be made to diagnose all cases, whether the problem is genetic or caused by environmental factors. 

When in the opinion of the Executive Vice President, or his designate, sufficient evidence is available from research data that an animal is a carrier of a genetic abnormality, the owner of the animal's sire and dam will be notified.

Definition and Special Action:  A deleterious genetic factor is defined as one that causes death or impairment of the usefulness of the animal.

The ASA Board of Trustees shall determine which deleterious genetic factors are to receive special attention and monitoring.

Classification:  The association shall publish a notation of any sire or dam that has been classified as a proven carrier.  The notation will include the deleterious genetic factor or factors the animal possesses.  The association may release such information to any of its members who may request the same, without the association or any of its officers, staff or members becoming liable for damages.

The Board of Trustees will determine the criteria by which an animal shall be classified a proven carrier for each genetic abnormality.

A recognized guideline for testing bulls for recessive genes is to mate a bull to at least 35 of its own daughters.  If all normal calves result (35 calves from 35 matings), there is a 99.6 percent probability that the bull is free from autosomal recessive genetic abnormalities. 

The expense of any test or test to determine whether an animal is proven free or a proven carrier will be the responsibility of the owner or the semen distributor.

Ethics:  The Association considers it an unethical practice to offer for sale a breeding animal or semen from an animal which is known to carry a deleterious genetic factor as defined by ASA without first informing the potential buyer or buyers of this fact.  Any advertising, descriptive materials or pedigree initiated by the owner of a proven carrier of a detrimental genetic factor as defined by ASA shall include a statement defining the deleterious factor or factors which the animal in question possesses.  Any effort to conceal such information is considered to be equally unethical.

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