Faster, cheaper DNA test for sheep poll/horn status available next month

Sheep Central June 26, 2017

Sheep CRC chief executive officer James Rowe

SHEEP breeders will next month have access to a faster, more accurate DNA test for parentage and poll/horn status that includes new features to detect a range of genetic defects.

The DNA Parentage and Poll test was launched in 2012 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC).

It has proven very popular with sheep breeders seeking to improve their genetic selections through more precise pedigree information or by selecting rams known to be polled.

Until now the test has been delivered using a 180 SNP panel which, while providing reliable predictions of parentage and the horn-poll trait, had limitations when there were a number of closely-related rams in use in a breeding program.

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Sheep CRC chief executive Professor James Rowe said the new test uses a more powerful 800 SNP panel and the latest analytical system based on the more stable Illumina technology.

The upgraded Parentage and Poll test will be available from July 7 for $21 per test (plus GST), with all information available from the new test panel included in the price (parentage, horn-poll, markers for genes with major effects and identification of genetic defects).

Prof. Row said under the old testing system there were occasions when batches of samples needed to be re-analysed and when this happened there were delays in the turnaround time causing considerable frustration to sheep breeders.

“We have been working with our technology partners to respond to that feedback and from July 7 we will be offering a new Parentage and Poll test that is more accurate, more reliable and will result in a more predictable sample turnaround time for breeders.

“The new DNA test panel includes all of the SNPs on the original test system and will therefore be completely compatible with all previous test results. It is also completely compatible with the 15k Sheep Genotyping SNP test.”

Prof. Rowe said the upgraded DNA test panel also allowed for producers to request analysis for prediction of major genetic defects including Carwell, Myostatin and Scrapie resistance, as well as identifying major gene effects and genetic defects.

“These features of the new test constitute a major improvement to the DNA test service we are offering sheep breeders and we are confident that they will enhance their ability to accelerate their rate of genetic gain by identifying and removing animals with a high risk profile from their breeding programs,” Prof. Rowe said.

The improved Parentage and Poll test has been developed by GeneSeek, which will provide test analysis services.

Source: Sheep CRC.


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