Taking DNA Samples

Taking DNA Samples for Registration

With Spring calving well through we though an optimal time to offer a reminder on how to take a hair sample for DNA parentage proving. 

This is as important as ever as our lab now charges an additional £27/€30 for a repeat sample.

Honorary Registrar Nigel Edwards takes you through the process in this instructional video

Calves must be parentage proven, prior to registration. The IMCS use hair as the source for DNA.  In order to Parentage Prove an animal, DNA samples of both parents and the animal itself must be tested.  Parents should be tested prior to the progeny hence the importance of purchasing animals already registered complete with green Pedigree Certificate.

Protocol for Collecting Samples

Samples must be collected and identified by either a veterinary surgeon or a person authorised by the Society (In the first instance all Board Members of the Society are deemed to be duly authorised), unless all the females in the herd are DNA profiled, in which case the sample may collected by the breeder.

A sample will not contain DNA unless it is complete with follicle (root), DNA will degrade if the sample is dirty or wet and adequate hairs must be sent in order for a result to be reported.

High quality samples with complete, clear and clearly written labels will create a quicker turn around as they are unlikely to need repeated. Repeat samples must be paid for by the member.

Protocol for taking a quality sample:

  1. Collect 40-60 hairs from the switch of the tail (coarse hair at bottom of tail) and grasp as tightly and as close to the skin as possible with hand or pliers.
  2. Pull the hair slowly and firmly upwards making sure to get the roots.
  3. Place in a sterile, sealable bag labelled with the animals’ details.

Please note:  Bank bags and envelopes are not permitted. Pluck the hair, DO NOT CUT!

Write the name, ear tag number, date of birth, sire and dam details and the appropriate signature on the label of the bag.  Make sure your hands are clean and dry, without foreign matter. Labels must be completed clearly and each name spelt exactly as it appears on Society records. Please ensure names that include digits are written in full. Discrepancies on DNA labels may incur delays and additional costs. It is the breeder’s responsibility to ensure this is correct.

Send the sample to the Breed Secretary accompanied by the correct fee.  If sampling more than one animal, be sure to wash hands before taking the next sample.