What to Expect When You’re Expecting…DNA Results!

Once you have collected a DNA sample either utilizing an ASA provided kit or a lab provided sample card you are responsible for mailing the sample along with official ASA 2D barcode/paperwork to the GeneSeek lab.

GeneSeek places samples into test on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for ASA. Once GeneSeek receives the sample it is expected to enter processing within 3-5 business days.

It will take 3-4 weeks for results to be reported to ASA. This time can vary depending on the time of year or type of testing requested.

There is NO WAY TO EXPEDITE DNA testing at GeneSeek.

Once results are reported to ASA from Geneseek, members will receive reports of testing either via email(if email is listed on the account) or by mail and at this time testing fees will be invoiced to the ASA member’s account.

Almost all results are viewable in Herdbook Services by searching the animal record and clicking on TraitTrac.

If you have additional questions please email dna@simmgene.com or call our office at 406.587.4531 and hit the number 3 to be connected to the DNA department.


New DNA Sampling Method – AllFlex TSUs

Allflex Tissue Sampling Units for DNA Testing

AllFlex has a method for collecting DNA Samples that ASA has recently embraced. This new form of sampling is being offered as another way to collect DNA and submit for all the tests we offer through ASA. The Tissue Sampling Unit (TSU) kit offers another way for producers to properly and successfully collect and submit DNA samples, even on newborn calves. To order your TSU kit please contact the DNA Department and we can mail you a kit. The start up costs are $35 for the TSU applicator and $2 per TSU ordered (increments of 10). The TSUs come in a box of 10 ($20) and Allflex recommends that you store them at room temperature prior to use (for a maximum period of 12 months). Member will also be responsible for shipping charges via UPS for the applicator and TSUs.
For more information on ordering these kits please contact the DNA department by phone 406-587-4531 or email dna@simmgene.com and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Box of TSU $20 (includes 10 TSU)
Applicator $35
Mailing TSU Samples to GeneSeek
When you have successfully collected your sample, please contact the DNA department at dna@simmgene.com and provide the following information: Account Number, Animal ID/Registration Number, TSU Bar code(displayed on the side of the TSU), and the tests you would like to have done. We will then process your DNA request and email you paperwork with instructions to send to the lab. The new DNA paperwork will have 2D barcode(s) and all you have to do is print and mail with the sample(s) to the lab. We recommend mailing your samples UPS ground since the samples may pop open if flown due to the pressure.

New DNA Pricing – Effective November 1

New DNA pricing has went in to effect as of November 1, 2016.  To a view the new pricing, click here.  The DNA paperwork request form has also been updated.  If you have any questions please contact ASA.  Email dna@simmgene.com or call 406.587.4531 and hit the number 3 to be connected to the DNA department.

DNA Parentage Results – What if animal doesn’t qualify to the Parent(s)?

For some breeders the DNA process is similar to waiting for a present to arrive.  The DNA sample is submitted to the lab and from that moment forward, the anticipation starts to build.  Will the animal submitted qualify to the parents? Will it test homo polled? Homo black? Free of genetic defects?  The not knowing, it’s absolutely heart wrenching, stressful and can just about drive you crazy during the 3-4 week wait.  However, whether the results leave you feeling excited or let down, it’s important to understand the process so lets take a moment and walk through how DNA parentage results are reported from the lab to ASA, uploaded and then emailed/mailed to the member.

Lab Reports Results to ASA

Every business day the lab uploads results that are ready to their online information system named LIMS.  Each day ASA checks LIMS and downloads any results that are available.  Results are uploaded to Herdbook Services and the membership account is invoiced for the testing.  If the sire/dam of the animal being tested has DNA on file with ASA, the lab will run a comparison to the parent(s) and determine whether the animal verifies to sire/dam. There are three critical pieces on the parentage report: sire qualify, dam qualify and sire/dam qualify as a mated pair.

There are 4 possible outcomes if both the sire and the dam have DNA on file with ASA

  • the animal qualifies to both sire/dam
  • the animal does not qualify to sire/dam (result is an exclusion)
  • the animal qualifies to dam but does not qualify to sire – (result is an exclusion)
  • the animal qualifies to sire but does not qualify to dam – (result is an exclusion)

Once the records are uploaded/submitted, an animal that is registered/on file and marked as an exclusion, is automatically suspended pending DNA verification or a pedigree update.

If only one or the other(sire/dam) has DNA on file, the animal is only compared to that parent. If the parent animal does not qualify, the exclusion procedure is followed as described above.

If neither parent has DNA on file, the animal’s DNA parentage is simply placed on file and uploaded.

Member notification

If the member has an email address on the account, an automated email is sent out displaying the invoicing information. These automated notifications do not contain any parentage result information, they simply display the amount invoiced to the account.  If your animal is registered/on file in the database you can go in to Herdbook Services, view the animal pedigree and look for the results designation on the animal record.  For an explanation on what to look for, please view the blog post on DNA results.

DNA parentage reports are then generated and emailed to members as attachments or mailed out the following business day.

What happens if the parentage report says the animal did not qualify to the parent(s)?

  1. If it’s an ET animal, we’re going to ask for other mating possibilities.
  2. If it’s a single birth animal we’re going to ask if there are any other sire/dam possibilities.

If you’re the breeder on this animal, go back and double check your records and if your response is, “no, there are no other possibilities” then you do have the option to submit a *second sample on the animal.  If you submitted a blood sample the first time, we recommend sending in a hair collector card for the second submission or vice-versa.

If there are other sire/dam possibilities, those will be forwarded to the lab for comparison, this process is called a re-check.  Re-checks typically take 24-48 hours to complete, depending on lab workload. If animal qualifies to the sire/dam on the re-check, the pedigree is updated and unsuspended.

If the animal/ET was purchased, you will need to check with the seller/breeder/sales management team and ask them if there are other possible matings.  If they respond as mentioned above, you have the option to submit a *second sample on the animal.

*Please note – If you submit a second sample and the animal tests the same way it did the first time, i.e. does not qualify to parent(s), you will be invoiced for both DNA parentage tests.  If the second sample qualifies to parent(s) as originally stated we will refund the amount invoiced for the second set of results.

Keep in mind, each exclusion case is unique and in certain cases, forces us to leave our comfort zones and consider even the most remote of possibilities.  For some people it’s helpful to think of DNA as a giant puzzle and with that in mind, it often takes more than one person to sort out how all the pieces fit together. Take a moment and consider all the people involved in the process of flushing a donor dam or AI breeding a dam.  The wrong semen straw gets pulled for the flush, the petri dishes on the flushed donors get switched, the ET straws get mis-labeled, the dam gets bred with two straws and it doesn’t get written down, the wrong dam loads in the chute first and it doesn’t get written down or caught.  The list goes on and on. None of us ever like to admit that we are all human and mistakes do happen(me least of all) but I can make you a promise that as issues arise,  ASA will work diligently with you each step of the way  to resolve and try to make real world sense of the situation.

If you have any questions/concerns on a particular DNA case please do not hesitate to email dna@simmgene.com or call 406.587.4531.

Red Charlie Test Now Publicly Available

GeneSeek launched the new red coat variant test, called Red Charlie.  Breeders interested in coat color testing on a red charlie suspect animal  need to order both the regular coat color test and the red charlie test to have a complete picture of the animal’s genotype for coat color.

The Red Charlie test will cost $7.00 in addition to the regular coat color test ($20.00).

Breeders can order Red Charlie through our usual DNA ordering process, either email the ASA at dna@simmgene.com or call 406-587-4531, ext. 3.

To read more about Red Charlie click here or read these FAQs.

DNA – Your Insurance Policy

We are continuously asked the following questions in the DNA department.
“How many more genetic defect tests will be developed?”
“How can I best protect my herd if something comes up down the road?”
“If my sire/dam has a clear TraitTrac, will that always be the case?”

The answer to all of these questions is simple.  Protect and insure your herd.  No, I do not mean that you need to call your local insurance representative and take out a policy, but what I do mean is you do need to start taking the necessary steps to properly protect your genetic investments. There will always be new DNA testing that is constantly coming about and being introduced in to the industry, that is a fact.  Whether it is a few months down the road, a year or even ten years, it’s coming.  What is important to remember is each animal, including you, has genetic defects.  It is up to you, as the breeder, to evaluate each animal/defect, determine the economic impact and decide whether they will be retained in the herd as a breeding animal.

Naturally, your next question is, “what’s the best way to start collecting DNA insurance on my herd?” The answer is once again, a fairly easy one.  After you have finished calving or prior to weaning, or if you’re planning on working the entire herd through the chute any time soon, call ASA and order blank DNA cards.  Blood cards are supplied free of charge and you can order any amount you wish.  Keep in mind, if an animal is a twin, you’ll need to pull a hair sample instead of a blood sample since twins can share the same blood source in-utero so oftentimes a blood sample will end in a No Results(NR). When the animal comes through the chute, collect a blood sample on the card.  Label the card and place it in a secure location, out of the elements, such as a safe or desk drawer.  Every animal that steps foot or is born on your ranch, should have a DNA sample collected and stored.  Whether you ever have to submit the sample for testing or not, it’s better to have it and not need it, than to not have it.  By collecting a sample on each animal, you’re insuring that if a DNA test becomes available somewhere down the road, you can submit that one sample for testing and depending on the result, further testing may not be necessary on any other animals.  You can potentially save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of testing by taking the time to secure a DNA sample on each animal and store it. Yes, this includes your AI sires and donor dams which are required to have a DNA sample submitted through the Association.  Go ahead, take an extra sample, or two, especially on the high impact animals.  It never hurts to have extra samples stored for use at a later date if it becomes necessary.

As the spring calving season is coming to a close, herd bulls are being turned out, AI sires are going to stud and donor dams are being flushed, take a moment, order some blank cards and start stockpiling a DNA sample on every animal. I can guarantee you, it’s the best way to prepare for the future of DNA technology and at the same time, insure your genetic investments.

If you have questions on the above information or would like more information, email dna@simmgene.com or call our office at 406.587.4531 and select #3 from the menu options.


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 up to 31,000 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 7,000 genetic markers and provides you with an affordable option that offers high-accuracy genomic prediction. ASA recommends GGP-uLD testing for herd sires and 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.