Common Reasons Samples Fail DNA Testing

GeneSeek LogoHave you ever submitted a DNA sample and received notification that the sample failed testing and was reported as a no results(NR)?  GeneSeek, Inc. has supplied ASA with the most common reasons samples fail testing and yield an NR.

General Issues

  1. Biological Contamination
    a. Cross contamination between samples/animals
    b. Fecal matter and dirt in sample – any foreign material in the sample may interfere
    with genotyping
  2. Chemical Contamination
    a. Dye/Pigment from animal markers
    b. Insect repellent
    c. Cleaning agents
  3. Improper Storage
    a. Heat exposure including leaving samples in vehicle or in hot sun.
    b. Exposure to foreign material including mold
    c. Improper frozen storage – the freeze/thaw cycle of a self-defrosting unit can
    degrade DNA
    d. Extended sample storage – DNA degrades over time
  4. Insufficient sample
  5. Improper shipping

Concerns Specific to Sample Type
Blood cards
1.   Insufficient blood spotted on card – ensure the circle is filled and the blood is visible on
both sides of the paper.
2.   When spotting cards from stored blood, make sure to invert the tubes 4-5 times before
spotting – blood settles/separates over time.
3.   Do NOT speed-dry the card using a hair-dryer as heat may damage the DNA.
Hair cards
1.   Too few or no follicles (<30) – DNA only occurs in the ‘root’ of the hair. The actual
strands do not contain DNA.
2.   Small follicles taken from young calves – hair samples should not be taken from calves <
6 months of age.
Semen Straws
1.   Store any semen samples at room temperature or a refrigerator.
2.   Semen straws can easily be damaged in shipping. Proper packaging is especially
important – an empty ball point pen tube is recommended packaging.

Keep in mind, approximately 3% of samples fail testing and are reported as an NR.  Plan ahead and submit samples at least 8-12 weeks prior to needing the results, that way if a sample fails testing you have time to submit a second sample before results are absolutely needed.  If you have additional questions email or call our office at 406.587.4531.


THE – Second Half Spring 2015 Billing 9/23/15

If you have females enrolled in Spring 2015 Total Herd Enrollment(THE) and elected to pay half of the enrollment fees up front and half later, invoices were sent out yesterday for the second half amount that is now due.  The invoice title reads THE 2nd Half Billing – S 2015.  If your account has an email address on file, a notification was sent out yesterday.  If the account does not have an email address, an invoice will be mailed to the address on file.  If you have any questions on THE invoicing, please email or call our office at 406.587.4531.