Top Tips for Taking Blood and TSU Samples

Sample failure can often be prevented by ensuring the sample collection process is correct.

With mail time, DNA testing can take around 2 months. FedEx’ing kits from ASA to members, and from members to the lab, can cut down this time. However, if a sample fails this time is doubled.

Below are tips for taking blood and TSU samples.

Please find the Down to the Genes article, “Common Reasons for Delays in DNA testing”, in the October issue of the Register for more information.



DNA Timeline, Requirements, and Top Tips

By Lilly Platts, Jackie Atkins, Riley Foster, and Leoma Wells

Everything you need to know about ASA’s DNA Services & more. This is an extended version of the first installment of ‘Down to the Genes’ published in the September 2018 issue of the Register.  This article covers frequently asked questions and offers tips for a smooth DNA process. For additional FAQ’s and information, see the September issue of the Register.

When do I have to DNA test an animal?

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I purchased semen, are those selling semen monitored by ASA to ensure HD/150K testing?

No. Breeders are responsible for completing ASA’s testing requirements. It is strongly suggested that buyers of semen ensure a bull has all required testing prior to purchasing semen and breeding cows.

Do ASA’s genetic defect testing requirements match those put in place by sales management and bull tests?

Not always. Sales managers and bull tests may require additional testing depending on their requirements. It is always best to follow up with the specific sales manager or bull test on the testing requirements prior to ordering DNA kits from ASA to ensure the animal can be sold through that venue.

Do other associations require the same testing?

Each association has different requirements. If a sire/dam is registered with ASA from another breed certificate, additional testing may be required to register progeny. Make sure to contact ASA with any questions prior to progeny being born to avoid delays at registration time.


Take home message:  Do not delay your DNA testing – order your kits today!

Ten things you can do to ensure a smooth DNA testing process:

  1. Familiarize yourself with ASA’s DNA testing requirements.
  2. First contact the sale, bull test, show, etc., you may participate in to be clear of their DNA requirements.
  3. Order kits early (at least two months before you need results) by contacting the ASA – or 406-587-4531. Please follow instructions and have all required information before calling.
  4. Use a blood card, TSU, or hair card for collection. NEVER send vials of blood, bags of hair, etc. to the lab.
  5. Follow the instructions for collection included with your kits. Failure to collect the samples properly may result in samples failing testing – watch for more information in the October issue.
  6. If you make a mistake, i.e. collect sample from the wrong animal, etc., do NOT send the sample to the lab. If you do, contact ASA immediately.
  7. Never send kits to the lab without either ordering them for specific animals, or if you have blank kits, always complete paperwork with the DNA department first.
  8. Send samples to the lab as soon as they are ready. Getting them out the door ensures faster processing and less time for paperwork to get mixed up.
  9. Check your email for results.
  10. If you have a question, ASA is happy to help. Please have your membership number and information on the animal you are inquiring about (ASA number, tattoo, etc.).


THE – Should Donors and Recipient Dams be Enrolled?

The whole premise of Total Herd Enrollment(THE) revolves around EVERY dam that is managed on your farm/ranch needs to be enrolled on inventory. This includes donor dams and recipient females IF you are managing them within your herd. Submitting calving data on all cows within a herd each year allows analysts to be close on such traits as fertility and heifer pregnancy.

Donor Dams If the donor is enrolled, her natural calf from the calendar year can be registered at *THE rates.

Recipient DamsIf the recipient dam is enrolled, and THE fees paid, the calf she has(whether ET or natural), can be registered at *THE rates.

Embryo Transfer(ET) Calves – If the recipient dam was not enrolled and paid for on a THE inventory, you pay per ET calf registered based off how the majority of your herd is enrolled in THE, i.e., if your herd is enrolled as Option A, you will be charged $15.00/ET calf registered.

*THE rates for calf registration are as follows: Option A – Free of Charge, Option B and Option C – $30.00 for calves under 10 months of age, $40.00 for calves between 10-15 months and $50.00 for calves over 15 months of age.


Q : If my donor dam is deceased, do I remove her from inventory? What if I still have frozen embryos in the tank?

A : Once a female dies or leaves the herd, including donor dams, you assign them a removal code and they will be taken off your active inventory list. When you report/register the frozen embryo calves, the system will allow you to do so and bill a registration fee per ET calf based off how your herd is enrolled.

Q : Why should I enroll a recipient dam?

A : ASA does not require the recipient dam to be enrolled in order for an ET calf to be registered. If the recipient female will continue to be managed within your herd, whether she has a natural calf/ET calf year to year, she should be enrolled.

Q : What if I’m contracting with a cooperator herd, how do I list the recipient dam information on the calf registration form?

A : You will not enroll the recipient dam on your THE inventory since it is not a female you manage within your own herd. When you report/register the ET calf, the recipient dam information will be left blank and you will list the donor dam and sire. A registration fee will be accessed for the registration on the ET calf based off how your herd is enrolled.

If you have further questions please email or call our office at 406.587.4531.

Breeding Season – What You Need to Know

Are you getting ready to send a sire off for collection or flush a donor dam?  Here’s a reminder on what testing needs to be on file with ASA for an animal to qualify as an AI sire/Donor Dam.

DNA-HD logo*Any AI Sire/Donor Dam (including other breed animals and commercial dams)

  • Any animal DNA tested after May 1, 2012, will need to provide proof that the GGP-HD/50K/genomic testing has been completed. If the animal is registered with ASA as a Foundation animal, proof of a genomic panel can be obtained from the primary breed Association if the animal is Angus, Red Angus, Maine-Anjou, Limousin, Gelbvieh or Hereford. If the primary breed Association does not offer a genomic panel, member’s can submit a sample through ASA for GGP-HD analysis.
  • If animal is a Foundation, SNPs/STRs will need to be forwarded from the other breed Association along with the date animal was DNA typed.

*Any AI Sire/Donor Dam (including other breed animals and commercial dams)

  • If the animal was DNA tested prior to May 1, 2012, member’s do not need to provide proof of GGP-HD/genomic testing. Animal will be be approved as AI/Donor Dam based off the date DNA was completed provided by the primary breed Association.

*Any Sire Used to Service a Donor Dam

  • Even if the sire live covers the donor dam, sire is required to meet AI sire requirements in order for ET progeny to be registered.

*TraitTrac Status – Genetic Defect Testing

If a sire or donor dam contains an 1/8 of a suspect breed population and carries a designation of population risk or carrier in lineage for genetic defects, they will need to be tested for each of the defects displaying PR/CL under TraitTrac to prevent progeny holds.  Regardless of the results of the testing, i.e. the animal tests as a carrier, the record will be updated and progeny able to be registered and certificates issued.

To request a DNA kit please see post on Ordering a DNA Kit. Please contact or call the ASA office at 406.587.4531 if you have questions.