DNA Test preparation

Identify your high production cows which are polled. Choose to breed the highest production horned cows to known highest predicted production polled bulls to obtain a group of high production PTA heifers which are naturally polled. Mating a horned cow to a PP bull will assure offspring that are polled and but also mating a horned cow to a PH of high PTA is suitable for breeding plan. Then using the highest producing polled cows to create the next generation of bulls for polled future generations with ET and DNA testing will raise production most quickly and provide the highest PTA offspring.

DNA testing of sample you provide will be done by Bova-Can Lab in Canada according to the procedures outline here. DNA typing tests use marker-assisted selection (MAS) to read the information contained in the animals' genes, the genotype. Marker-assisted selection we are suggesting here offers the advantage of reducing the number of years it takes to introduce our genetic improvements. The MAS DNA typing used is the result of dedicated work by Dr. Shiela Schmutz and Dr. Yves Plante, Bova-Can Lab of the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Research Council. The test as of this writing will cost about CA$150.00 per flush for all calves of a flush mating. Follow the instructions of Bova-Can Laboratories by starting with the Bova-Can Laboratories Fax order form included below.

You can plan ahead by reading this material as to the process you will follow, but make and initial contact order for Bova-Can envelops by making the initial contact and requesting the information as outlined on the order form included below.

For planning, understand that you will be required to furnish hair samples collected from the polled dam and the flush offspring of the mating which will have to include one horned calf and multiple polled calves, as well as semen from the polled sire of the mating. If the polled dam had a horned offspring from another mating, then furnishing hair samples from the horned offspring and semen from the horned offspring’s sire will also be required.

To take samples the hair contributor must be at least 60 days old. Wash your hands, and rinse with clean water and dry your hands. You must clean the tail with a comb, brush, dater and try the tail. Remove all dirt with the brush, then wash it with plain water and let it dry completely. Take the switch in one hand, wrap 10 hairs around the index or middle finger of the other hand. Twist to wrap the hairs together and then give a good downward pull to pull out the 10 hairs along with their roots on the ends of the hair shafts. Make sure the roots are all intact. Lay out these roots on a clean white paper to which the side half of an adhesive strip has been attached leaving the other half exposed and ready to stick to the hairs. Press the free ends of the hair against the exposed half strip. Repeat the process for each animal until for that animal 30 good hair roots have been obtained. Identify the animal by writing on the white paper to which the 30 hair roots have been affixed, along with your name and address, phone number. The roots should be about 1 inch from the edge of the paper when the hairs are pasted. Let the hair roots dry for a couple of minutes. Then fold the paper over to stick the adhesive side down on the paper. Put the hair bundle in a clearly identified hair envelope and tape it to the application for testing. Include the hair from only one animal in an envelope or application form. Wash hands before taking another sample to prevent contamination. A single hair follicle from another animal is enough contamination to make the sample unfit for testing. The roots must be there for testing. For bulls, semen straws or ampoules need to be send attached in a cardboard support and closed so that the straw or ampoule won’t bend or leak. Usually this is accomplished by placing the sample on cardboard and bending the cardboard three times and folding one side over the other to form a cardboard prism shape with a triangle opening in which the straw or ampoule is place and the end closed or covered by a cotton plug. This then can be placed in an application envelope. These samples do not have to be sent frozen. Follow the labeling and shipping instructions of the Bova-Can Labs Order.

If all calves of the mating are polled, you will need to supply the hairs from a horned calf of the polled dam, and that calf’s sire. Make sure you fully inform Bova-Can Laboratories of your planned collection with the following application order. When you receive their certified results, save the original with the registration papers and notify your breed association of the results and request a name change to indicate HOMO P in the name of the animal. Initially they may be surprised but they should accommodate your request. You should also post your success with the Polled Dairy Cow Organization.