DNA – What Testing Does ASA Offer and Which One Should You Request?

In this day and age with so many different DNA tests being offered, trying to figure out which one you should use or actually need on any given animal can be quite challenging. The following is an attempt to serve as an explanation of the various tests being offered and also suggestions for which groups of animals might best benefit from each test.

Genomic Tests – Genomic tests give a more accurate picture of what DNA markers an offspring inherited from its parents in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs). These DNA markers are associated with the genetic control of various traits.
GeneSeek Genomic Profiler HD(better known as GGP-HD) has up to 150,000 genetic markers and provides more extensive data than any other profile currently offered.  ASA REQUIRES all AI sires and Donor Dams to have a GGP-HD profile(including other breed sire and dams or commercial females). Additional add-on content is available, see DNA pricing sheet for more information.
GeneSeek Genomic Profiler LD(better known as GGP-LD) has around 47,000 genetic markers and provides you with an affordable option that offers high-accuracy genomic prediction. ASA recommends GGP-LD testing for herd sires and replacement heifers. Additional add-on content is available, see DNA pricing sheet for more information.
The GGP-HD and GGP-LD tests also include parent verification(if the parent animals have DNA on file for comparison) and diluter results.
GeneSeek Genomic Profiler uLD(better known as GGP-uLD) has around 9,000 genetic markers and provides you with an affordable option that offers high-accuracy genomic prediction. ASA recommends GGP-uLD testing for replacement heifers. Additional add-on content is NOT available on the uLD. If additional trait testing is needed on the animal, we recommend either the GGP-HD or GGP-LD.
The GGP-uLD test does include parent verification(if the parent animals have DNA on file for comparison).
The results of GGP-HD, GGP-LD and GGP-uLD testing are blended in to an animal’s EPDs, thus increasing the accuracy and resulting in the equivalent of an estimated 5-10 progeny already being recorded to that animal.  As you can imagine, genomic testing can have a large impact on maximizing your herd’s genetic potential, especially with regards to replacement heifers since most females would not achieve that level of accuracy until they are 8-10 years of age.
Genomic tests DO NOT automatically include trait testing such as horned/polled or coat color results.  If additional trait testing is desired it must be requested when you order the kit in addition to the genomic test and add-on pricing will apply.
Parent Verification(PV) is the minimum testing requirement for purchased embryos.  This testing simply confirms whether the animal qualifies or does not qualify to the sire/dam. Read more about parentage testing and how it works by clicking here.
Additional Trait Testing
Coat Color(CC) testing is utilized to confirm whether the animal is homozygous or heterozygous black.  A result confirming a homozygous black animal means these animal’s should always produce black calves when mated to non-diluted red or black cows. A heterozygous black result means these animal’s are black but carry one red gene.  When mated to non-diluted red cows, you can expect 50% of the calves to be black and 50% red. For more information on coat color, click here.
Red Charlie(RC) is a red coat color variant carried in certain pedigree lineages. To view whether your animal is a potential carrier of RC, check out the individual animal’s TraitTrac display.  To view more information on Red Charlie, click here.
Horned/Polled(HP) testing is utilized to confirm whether the animal is homozygous or heterozygous polled. A result confirming a homozygous polled animal means this animal’s calves will all be smooth polled.  A result confirming heterozygous polled means the animal has one horned gene and may have horned progeny if mated with another animal carrying a horn gene. There is no DNA test available for scurrs at present so these results do not include the scurr gene.  For more information on horned/polled, click here.
Diluter(DL) testing is used to see if an animal is a carrier of the dilution gene.  For more information on dilution, click here to be directed over to the Science Community Blog.
Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation(OH) is a cosmetic genetic trait resulting in cattle having uniformly light colored irises coupled with an unusual chocolate coat color.  OH is a simple recessive trait meaning an animal must inherit two copies of the mutation to display the trait. For more information on OH, click here.
Genetic Defect TestingREQUIRED on any Sire or Donor Dam that are listed as having a  population risk(PR), documented carrier in the lineage(DL) or carrier in the lineage(CL) for any genetic defects under their TraitTrac.
Arthrogryposis Multiplex(AM)
Neuropathis Hydrocephalus(NH)
Contractural Arachnodactyly(CA)
Developmental Duplication(DD)
Tibial Hemimelia(TH)
Pulmonary Hypoplasia with Anasarca(PHA)
For more information on these genetic conditions, click here.

Click here to view the ASA pricing for all the above mentioned tests. If you would like to request a kit, see How to Order a DNA kit.  For any other questions, concerns or to visit more about DNA testing either email dna@simmgene.com or call 406.587.4531.

Parent Verification – How does it work?

Dr. Jackie Atkins, Director of Science and Education for the American Simmental Association explains how parent verification works and invites comments and or questions on the latest post in the ASA Science Community Blog.  To read the full article, click the link below.

How does parent verification work?


Fall 2015 Calving Data – How to Report

Have you utilized ASA’s online data entry recently? Reporting/registering cattle on the ASA website has never been easier than it is today. We encourage each member who has internet capability to explore this invaluable resource. If you are new to the website or just need a refresher, go ahead and give us a call and a staff member will gladly guide you through your first entry. Remember, every dam enrolled on your 2015 Fall inventory either needs to have a calf reported or a productivity code (reason why you are not reporting a calf to the dam) to ASA by June 1 to be included in the fall sire summary evaluation or by June 15, 2016 to keep your account in compliance with data reporting requirements.

How to start an Online Job to enter your Fall 2015 Calf Data

Go to Herdbook Services

Select LOGIN from the top right hand corner of your screen

Account # ASA Member Number

Password – *Password assigned by ASA for your member account
*If you have not had a password assigned by ASA you will need to contact our office and ask to speak with someone in member services so they can assign one.

Go to Data Entry, select Online

Make sure Fall is highlighted

Select the button that says Update 2015 – Fall Calves

Screenshot from 2016-03-14 09:09:21

How to start an online job to report 2015 Fall Calf Data

Remember, each dam listed on your online spreadsheet will need to have a calf reported or productivity code(reason why she did not calve in given year).

Below are examples of common questions from members when they are reporting their calf data online.

Example (1) – Dam had twins

Since the dam is only pre-loaded in the spreadsheet once, you will need to enter one calf in the row with the dam pre-listed and after the last dam in your spreadsheet, click in that row and hit your enter key, which adds blank rows to the spreadsheet. Click in to the DamRegNbr column and enter the dam’s ASA registration number (placing her in your spreadsheet twice, once for each calf). Then enter your second calf in this row. You will end up with two rows for this dam, one for each calf. Make sure the MBC code is entered correctly to denote twins. Note: each calf must have a different tattoo, you cannot have two calves within your herd identified the same.

Example (2) – Simmental ET calf

When reporting online, the DamRegNbr column (first column of spreadsheet) is where you would enter the Recipient cow (birth dam) ASA number. If the recipient dam is enrolled on your THE inventory, fill in the ET calf information on her line.  If the recipient dam is not enrolled on your THE, leave those columns blank.  To enter the Donor Dam’s information, select the tab at top of the spreadsheet (above the blue column headers) and enter in the Donor Dam’s ASA Registration number in the DonorRegNbr column and hit your enter key. All of the Donor Dam’s information will automatically fill in. Then select your Animal tab to enter the rest of the calf information. You will need to indicate whether the calf was a Frozen Embryo(6) or Fresh Embryo(9) transfer in the MBC column of your spreadsheet. Note: The donor dam will not appear on the Animal tab of your spreadsheet, so once you click back on Animal you will not see her information, rest assured, it is still there.

ET Calf Reporting

Example (3) – Calf was grafted to another dam, how do I report?

Record the calf data to the genetic dam that physically gave birth to the calf, not the foster dam who the calf was grafted on to. The foster dam does not receive credit for raising the grafted calf. To indicate the calf was raised by a foster dam, under the weaning tab in the MC column you will enter a 4, thus ensuring it will not be included in a contemporary group.

Example (4) – Dam left the herd prior to calving(sold, died, disappeared, etc.)

You will need to record a productivity code for this female indicating why you’re not reporting a calf to her for 2015.  The productivity columns are located under the BrthDam tab.  Click on the Productivity column header for a help box that displays the 11 different codes you can choose from.  Next you will need to fill in the productivity year, which in this case is 2015.  By reporting a productivity code, you are informing the database that this dam did not have a calf in the year 2015.  There will not be any calf data information listed under the Animal tab for this female, just a productivity code and year under the BrthDam tab. Note: A productivity code should only be used if there is not any calf data to report for the given year and cannot be used in addition to calf data, it’s either a calf is being reported or a productivity code, not both.

Productivity Reporting

Example (5) – Cow/Calf pair was sold without papers, how do I indicate the calf is no longer a part of the herd and left prior to weaning?

You will record all the required calf information: tattoo, sire, sex, tattoo location, date of birth, MBC, AI, HPS and color.  Then you will fill in the appropriate calf removal code.  For a list of calf removal codes, click on the column header and all will be displayed in a help box(you may have to scroll down to see the complete list).  A calf removal code should be assigned to an animal prior to 18 months of age, indentifying the animal was not kept as a replacement.

Screenshot from 2016-03-14 09:26:01

Example (6) – Dam calved the first part of January instead of in December. How do I report the calf so it’s part of the fall contemporary group?

If you scroll over to the far right of the online job there is a column labeled CalfYear.  Type in 2015.  This tells the computer to contribute this record to 2015 instead of 2016 for this female and will contemporary the calf with the rest of the 2015 born animals.

Screenshot from 2016-03-14 09:39:46

If you have any questions while entering calving data, please contact our office at 406.587.4531 or email the@simmgene.com.