Determining the parentage of lambs can now be done a number of different ways. These include, visual identification, Pedigree Matchmaker and DNA parentage tests. DNA parentage tests are now easily accessible to all sheep producers. Blood cards can be ordered on-line from the Sheep CRC website. A small cut is made in the ear (or it could be done in combination with ear marking as in the picture), a few drops of blood are collected on the blood card and the cards are sent for analysis.
The Sheep CRC SNP-based Parentage test is based on recent research conducted by the Sheep CRC, MLA and the International Sheep Genomic Consortium (ISGC). The Parentage test is suitable for all breeds and can be used by any sheep breeder.
The cost of the test is $17 per sample (plus GST). Once you order your blood cards online, the cards along with instructions for sampling and payment will be sent to you.
The Parentage test can be used for ‘full pedigree’ – that is linking a lamb to its ewe and sire. Alternatively, breeders may choose to only link ram lambs with their sires or lambs with dams. It is very important to collect blood samples from ALL of the animals that need to be matched up if possible. For example, failing to sample one or two sires may make it difficult to assign all of the lambs to their sires. The same applies to sampling ALL ewes if full pedigrees are required.
If AI sires are used, and no blood card samples are available, if these sires have been previously genotyped then these rams need be listed using the 16 digit Sheep Genetics unique ID code on the order form when returning.
The blood cards along with payment and documentation should be returned to the Genomic Office promptly to ensure that you receive your results as quickly as possible. Results will be reported back to breeders within six weeks of receiving the completed blood cards and payment.