As producers across the country start weaning spring-born calves, ASA wants to ensure that any subsequent DNA testing on those calves is successful. With increased value being placed on genomically-enhanced EPDs, it is more important than ever to make sure producers allow adequate time for collecting and organizing samples, requesting paperwork or kits from ASA, testing at the lab, and uploading and analyzing test results. Furthermore, producers should be prepared for scenarios where samples fail or additional testing is needed. Below are the top items to consider for DNA testing this fall.
On the adjacent page, you will find ASA’s DNA-testing timeline. This takes into consideration all of the factors involved with testing. Remember, around 2% of samples will fail for a variety of reasons. Go to simmental.org, scroll down to the Down to the Genes section, and find our top tips for sample collection so you can mitigate the risk of sample failure. The ONLY way ASA can expedite the process is by sending kits to members via overnight shipping, and for members to ship samples overnight to the lab.
Genomically-enhanced EPDs are not automatic and are generated through a process separate from when ASA’s DNA department uploads parentage and trait results. From the time ASA receives results from the lab, it takes on average seven days for the animal’s new data to go through the genetic evaluation. This does not guarantee genomically-enhanced EPDs. The IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation analyzes the genotype data and removes genomic files with suspected errors from the genetic evaluation. For example, genotypes are removed if the international ID is incorrect or can’t be linked to an animal in the evaluation, the sex isn’t correct, the parent or progeny markers don’t match (using 50,000 markers), two samples from the same animal have different DNA markers, the markers are out of alignment with expected proportions of heterozygous and homozygous calls, or the laboratory had low call rates on the sample. While some of the ID problems can be fixed without a new test, other errors require a new DNA sample and test to be resolved (like samples that fail testing). Members can submit a second sample to retest but there is no guarantee the new sample will be successful. In the event a new sample is recommended for genomic testing, the member is financially responsible for the new test. This does not happen frequently but does mean members should allow adequate time for testing. Animals MUST be on file or registered to run a genomic test.
Sending samples to the lab without paperwork can double the testing time. ASA’s lab, GeneSeek, processes thousands of samples per day. If a package arrives with samples lacking either 2D barcodes or paperwork, the lab sets them aside to research, contacts ASA if they can tell the samples are Simmental, and it is left up to staff to figure out who the samples belong to, what testing they want, create an order, and communicate with the lab. When samples have the required 2D stickers or paperwork they quickly go into testing. Additionally, DO NOT send samples to ASA. Either request kits that will be sent with 2D barcodes, or if you have kits on hand, request paperwork so the samples can go straight from you to the lab.