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To submit a sample for DNA testing use the Cattle Specimen Information Form

 

DNA Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free: (866) 362-9778
Phone: (405) 271-6033
Fax: (405) 271-6034

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Animal | Cattle - Overview
 

 

 

DNA Solutions is currently engaged in research efforts in the area of cattle genotyping. Please contact us to discuss possible collaborations in this field.

How It Works
The basics are that DNA is the genetic material of all living things and that genetic information is literally written in the DNA molecule in the form of genes. Most of us have a grasp of genetics. We understand that the physical traits of parents show up in their offspring because of genetics. This genetic information is passed on because one half of an offspring’s DNA comes from the bull and the other half comes from the cow.

We hope that the best of the genetic characteristics will be passed on to his calves. We try to control the breeding process by selecting the bulls that will be used in our breeding programs and try to prevent other bulls from contributing. This is where a DNA test can be of value. Most people are familiar with the recent celebrity murder case in which human identity was determined by a DNA test. The very same technology can be applied to any living organism, including cattle. The test is actually looking for specific pieces of DNA which are often referred to as “DNA markers”. The key to the technology is that these markers behave just like genes. They come in pairs, one from the bull and one from the cow. The pattern of each of the markers is the genetic profile or genotype of the individual. This profile is constant for an individual but differs between individuals.

Breeding Benefits
So why is a genetic profile useful in a breeding operation? One obvious reason is the ability to confirm identity. If an animal is stolen or poached, positive identification through genotyping can lead to the return of the animal or incarceration of the poacher. The genetic profile is a definite plus in any registry program. Another use for a genetic profile is to confirm a pedigree. The genetic profiles from both the calf and alleged sire are compared. By definition, the biological sire will share markers with the calf. If there are mismatches, then the bull is excluded as the sire. The same can be done with the genetic profile of the cow. Using this DNA technology in a university research program, we have actually found evidence of twin calves being sired by two different bulls. There is definitely an added value when you can actually show proof of pedigree.

The application of DNA technology to cattle is relatively recent. There are only a few laboratories offering these tests. Clearly these DNA tests will become an everyday part of the cattle breeding business.