DNA Primer Related To Parentage Confirmation in Beef Cattle
The beef cattle industry has for many years utilized parentage confirmation in
their registered cattle. Experinces with this practice throughout the years has proven that parentage confirmation
when in combination with a well run breeding program ensures more accurate pedigrees. More accurate pedigrees add
value to the herd.
DNA samples are all subjected to an identical process.
Each sample is assigned a unique ID to allow lab personnel to trackthe physical location and identify the DNA
profile to be used in the parentage analysis. Many different sample types may be utilized for routine testing. Some
of those are; blood, hair, semen, buccal swabs and blood FTA cards. Non-routine sample types include bone, teeth,
saliva, dried blood, urine and feces.
DNA is extracted from the samples and microsatellite marker analysis begins with the
PCR procedure. When a DNA profile, which provides alleles sizes for all microsatellite markers is obtained the
parentage analysis is performed. In this process a computer program compares the DNA profile of the offspring to
those of the presumed parents. A parentage analyst reviews the results and, if no problems exist, a report is
finalized. If a listed parent or parents are excluded, additional analysis is performed including retest of samples
and the possible use of additional DNA markers to confirm the exclusion.
The typical animal parentage case, species, includes a dam, offspring and one or more
sires. Generally the identity of the dam is fairly certain. Parentage testing identifies individuals that, due to a
specific combination of marker alleles, could qualify as a parent for a particular offspring. Accurate parentage
testing requires breeders to identify possible parents since if considering a randomly selected large group of
individuals there could be more than one that qualifies as a parent. A good application for animal parentage
testing is verification that the dam is correct and which of the sires on a particular farm are the actual
Finally, it is important to remember that while parentage exclusions are 100% accurate,
parentage qualifications are not. The accuracy of most animal parentage tests is greater than 99% when both parents
are included in the analysis and drops to around 95% when only one parent is included in the analysis. However,
this accuracy will decrease when the potential parents are part of a large group of closely related animals. Again
this is due to the fact that an animal closely related to an actual parent could possess marker alleles that would
make it appear that animal is the correct parent. To prevent erroneous parentage qualifications breeders may submit
samples from all possible parents when first requesting parentage verification. If more than one sire and one dam
qualify as parents of an offspring the laboratory can then test with additional DNA markers to sort out the actual