Providing genetic analysis of White-tailed deer for:
- Unique Identification
- Parentage Verification
- Confirming AI success
- Settling Ownership Disputes
- Poaching or Illegal Hunting Prosecutions
- Insurance Claims
Highly discriminating analysis with samples processed and results returned in 15 business days or less.
We here at DNA Solutions have heard the call for DNA testing of white-tailed deer. But the questions that immediately come to mind are...what is a DNA test and why do you need one? You may have heard about DNA in school or even in the news lately but it has never really had an impact on our daily lives until the last few years. Now it may even have an influence in our business dealings.
What is DNA?
Basically, 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 basic understanding 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 sire and the other half comes from the dam.
Breeders hope that a buck with large antlers will pass on this genetic trait to his fawns. Currently, we do not know which genes are associated with trophy antlers so we cannot directly test for this characteristic. Instead, we try to control the breeding process. Breeders select the bucks that will be used in their breeding programs and try to prevent other bucks from contributing. This is where a DNA test can be of value. Most people are familiar with the recent use of DNA for human identification for paternity and catching criminals (forensic applications). The very same technology can be applied to any living organism, including white-tailed deer. The test actually looks at specific pieces of DNA which are referred to as “DNA markers”. These markers come in pairs, one from the sire and one from the dam. 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.
So why is a genetic profile useful in a breeding operation? One obvious reason is the ability to confirm identity. If a deer is stolen or poached, positive identification through DNA testing can lead to the return of the animal and/or incarceration of the poacher. In addition, a set of shed antlers can be positively matched to a specific buck. 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 fawn and alleged sire are compared. By definition, the biological sire will share markers with the fawn. If there are makers that are not shared, the buck is excluded as the possible sire. The same can be done with the genetic profile of the dam. Using this DNA technology in a university research program, we have actually found evidence of twin fawns being sired by two different bucks. There is definitely an added value when you can actually show proof of pedigree.
The application of DNA technology to white-tailed deer is relatively recent. There are only a few laboratories offering these tests. Clearly, DNA testing will become an everyday part of the deer breeding business. DNA Solutions leads the field in service and quality of genetic testing along with other DNA testing services.