Shopping for New Genetics? Don’t Forget to Check the DNA

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Down to the Genes Series

Everything the AJSA Needs to Know About DNA Testing

With the upcoming AJSA Regional and National Classics, and summer show season, it is very important…

Shopping for New Genetics? Don’t Forget to Check the DNA

Buying and selling registered cattle, semen, or embryos require a number of considerations, one of which is DNA requirements. ASA’s DNA department answers questions every day about the DNA status of purchased animals, transfer hold-ups due to DNA testing or lack thereof, what kind of DNA testing is required, and much more. Below are some of the most common questions ASA receives. Keep in mind that ASA will not become involved in buyer-seller disputes, and can only provide relevant information and an explanation of registration requirements. If you are buying a Simmental genetics and have DNA questions, you are always encouraged to contact the DNA department at (406)-587-4531 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The animal I am considering purchasing does not have EPDs on ASA’s website. Should I be concerned?     

Registered animals may lack EPDs on for a variety of reasons, a common one being a genetic hold. This means that the animal has either a carrier of a genetic condition in its lineage or a population risk for a genetic condition. If the animal was a result of embryo transfer, check both the sire and dam for condition risk as follows: Click on the parent registration number to see their pedigree. At the top-right hand of the screen, choose TraitTrac. Use the key on the left-hand side of the page to determine if the animal is tracked for any genetic conditions. If any conditions are tracked, contact the seller and inquire about any testing that may be in progress. If the animal is a single birth, it is only necessary to look at the sire for condition risk. Keep in mind, genetic conditions are the only things that will cause a genetic hold. Genetic traits, like OH and Coat Color, are not conditions and do not cause genetic holds. 

I am interested in purchasing an animal that resulted from an embryo transfer (ET).  What DNA requirements must the seller complete?

If the animal is registered and has EPDs, all DNA requirements have been met for transfer. If the animal’s registration number is in parentheses, that means it is on file and not yet registered. This isn’t necessarily an issue but does mean you should check with the seller. If the seller owns the donor dam, the donor must have a completed GGP-HD test in order for her ET progeny to be registered. If the seller purchased the embryo, the donor dam must have a completed GGP-HD test and the ET progeny must be parent-verified via DNA testing in order to be registered. If the animal has completed parentage testing and qualified to both the sire and dam, it will show “PQB” on the pedigree page of its record. Don’t hesitate to ask the seller for clarification if you are unsure of the status of an ET animal.

Can I register a Simmental animal I purchase, as opposed to having the seller do it? 

ASA strongly recommends that the seller complete the registration if the animal is being sold as registered. However, the buyer can complete the registration but will need to acquire a breeder’s signature. It is also imperative to make sure the animal can be registered before paying for the animal. For example, if the dam requires DNA testing, the buyer will be unable to complete the registration on their own. 

The seller did some DNA testing on an animal I purchased, but I would like to do more testing. Will I need to send a new sample? 

So long as the sample is not exhausted and was originally submitted through ASA, you will be able to use the sample to run additional testing for a small fee. 

If a seller says DNA testing is in progress, how can I ensure the animal will be transferred to me? 

 It is always best to make sure the animal is actually registered before a transaction takes place. However, there are scenarios where this may not be possible. ASA may not be able to share DNA testing information if the person asking doesn’t own the animal, isn’t an authorized representative on the account, or didn’t pay for the testing (a straw of semen was submitted, for example), as respecting the privacy of our members’ accounts is a priority. Having the seller provide invoices, screenshots of DNA records, etc., may be helpful.

I am buying a Simmental animal and the seller said DNA testing and registration is in progress and will be done soon. What is the timeline, and what else should I consider?   

If everything is in order, DNA testing takes three to four weeks from the time the sample arrives at the lab. Keep in mind that around 2% of all samples fail testing and need to be retested. There are a number of reasons a sample could fail, including but not limited to contamination and insufficient sample. In addition, an animal’s sample may not qualify to parents, which can delay animal registration until qualifying parents are found. Individual buyers may be more or less willing to accept these risks regarding DNA test results and animal registration. The only error-free way to ensure an animal can be transferred is to have the seller provide a signed, current, hard-copy registration paper with the transfer section filled out.

If I purchased an animal with a sire or dam of another breed, which had DNA testing conducted through another breed association, will ASA accept the DNA results?

Yes, ASA will accept DNA results from other associations, and this information can be shared by calling the other association and putting in a request. However, the ASA DNA requirements apply, and the animal still has to meet registration requirements if the dam or sire is of another breed.    






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