SeekSire™ parentage testing compares DNA markers from bulls (or cows) with DNA from calves to verify the calves’ parentage. In commercial settings, this service is often used when multiple bulls are mixed with female cattle. Multi-sire parentage reports tell producers:
- Which bulls are siring the most calves
- Identify the best genetics
- Track down the source of adverse effects
- More timely and informed culling decisions
- SeekSire uses USDA recognised/ISAG standard parentage markers
Collecting sire DNA. The common seasonal practice of breeding soundness exams provides a time when producers or their veterinarians can collect a DNA sample from the bull battery. DNA sample types include: tail hair follicles; semen straw; semen sample placed on blood drop cards and then dried; or Allflex Tissue Sampling Units. (Blood collection on bulls may not be feasible.)
Submitting bull sire DNA. Parentage can be quite valuable to determine which of many sires are performing in the field. When ordering parentage, supply sire DNA samples prior to or with an Igenity® heifer profiling order. Once bull DNA is processed and entered into the GeneSeek® informatics system, parentage markers are on file and this step does not need to be repeated. When submitting bull DNA, producers can order a SeekSire parentage test or may wish to order an Igenity profile if the bull does not have EPDs. Producers may wish to have sire DNA sampled during breeding soundness exams.
Setting up sire groups. When ordering parentage, DNA tests on calves will be compared to the DNA of sires that producers have submitted. Order forms contain an area to fill in that indicates which bulls should be assigned to a sire group. This information is used in informatics programs at GeneSeek to determine most probable sires. Unusual results occur on occasion due to neighbouring bulls siring calves in other herds.
Parentage for breed associations. Breed associations have their own policies and processes on testing sire and dam parentage and validating pedigrees of their progeny for registered breedstock. Contact the relevant breed association for more information.