Tissue sampling units (TSUs) are now accepted by Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) as a DNA sample type for seedstock producers seeking genetic testing. The technology offers seedstock producers a quick and effective DNA collection method previously offered for commercial testing only.
AGI’s suite of test options are used to establish expected progeny differences to measure genetic merit for breeding stock, and can also determine parentage or test for genetic conditions — important capabilities in the management of an Angus seedstock herd.
A TSU collects an ear punch from the animal and provides an alternative to tail hair, blood and semen sample types used for DNA testing, AGI said. Similar to tagging an animal, the TSU has an applicator gun to collect the ear punch in an uncontaminated container. Producers can also test for bovine viral diarrhea when they use TSUs.
This tool is not a new concept; breakthroughs in technology and collaboration with industry partners led to this new option for DNA collection. Allflex, an AGI industry partner, worked with both contracted labs used by AGI to guarantee that samples can be archived.
TSUs and applicators are available to purchase from the American Angus Assn. through www.customcattletags.com. Members can order by logging into their association account. Units can be purchased in quantities of 10 for $29.99 ($2.99 per unit). Breeders must send in a spreadsheet electronically to AGI customer service representatives that includes both the animal identification and bar code associated with the DNA sample. If an individual chooses to write individual identification numbers on the TSU box next to the associated bar code, this will be accepted as well.
For more information about TSUs and sample collection, visit the TSU section of www.angus.org/AGI/SubmittingSamples.aspx. AGI will still accept blood and hair samples for genetic testing.