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Selecting the best animals for next generation breeding requires a thorough understanding of the livestock genetics. The cattle breeders have shown the value of investments into genomics technologies. The (r)evolution applies to mammals, poultry, fish and all animals you work with. We can support you in this challenge.

Genomics technologies are fully established in breeding and becoming more efficient due to technology innovations and developments. Modern farming has established techniques such as genome wide association, genome sequencing, genetic markers and genotyping. In particular milk cow and beef cattle breeding have already reached convincing success with improved properties in traits such as feed efficiency, milk yield, beef quality, health and behaviour.

Developing and applying DNA markers for marker-assisted breeding is getting more efficient with technology improvents.

We can support your application in population genetics, genetic variability management and in the breeding of:

  • Mammals: cattle, sheep, goat, horses, pigs, deer, guinea pig and others
  • Poultry / birds: chicken, turkey, quail, pigeon and others
  • Fishes: salmon, trout, carp, pangasius and others
  • Seafood: mussels and general shellfish, shrimps and other crustaceans and others
  • Insects
  • Microorganisms: fungi and bacteria

Do you want to apply established DNA markers in established animals, for example cost-efficient cattle SNP or STR marker genotyping or scrapie genotyping in sheep or goat? Do you need genetic fingerprints or parentage testing?

Or do you require genome, transcriptome or metagenome characterisation? Development of genetic markers and cost efficient genotyping assays? Genomic technology selection and application in research and development projects?

Then just contact us!


1. Which information will be received by DNA analysis (genotyping) of animals?
Each genotyping lead to a genetic fingerprint (DNA profil) of the animal that is so individual to be able to identify a single animal out of 6 billion animals. The genetic fingerprint can be perpared from different animal tissues like blood, hair roots, skin, pinfeathers and after slaughtering from meat and meat products. Comparison of several animals or comparison of a single profil with an earlier profile lead to a doubtless identity confirmation. If no reference specimen is available, comparison of the DNA fingerprint with the fingerprint of the parents can be used for parentage confirmation.
In contrast to other marker-based methods (e.g. microchips) the genetic fingerprint is not susceptible for manipulation. Regarding livestock animals, comparison of the DNA profile of meat and meat products with an earlier DNA profile of the living animal enables the detection of the meat origin (see traceability of meat). This unforgeable test supports marketing possibilities.

The genetic fingerprint can only be used for identification and contains no genetic information. Anyhow, the analysis can be combined with a diagnosis of genetic diseases or desired genetic attributes. It is harmless for the animal.
2. What is a genetic fingerprint?
The genetic fingerprint is prepared by using so-called microsatellites. Microsatellites are non-coding regions of the genome where simple DNA sequences, e.g. GA, GAG or CAA, are repeated differently. Hence, the DNA regions have a different length. Each individual shows a unique combination of microsatellite regions of different length that lead to a unique band pattern, like a barcode, in the fragment length analysis. This band pattern is also called DNA profile or genetic fingerprint.

For pets or livestock animals a marker set of at least 10 microsatellites are used to perform individualism successfully.
3. In which cases animal genotyping is applied?
Animal breeding and animal identification.
Genotyping enables a distinct parentage confirmation comparing the DNA profiles of the parents with those of the offspring.

Recovered animals can be identified if the DNA profile is already present or can be prepared from hairs or saliva traces, e.g. on chewing bones.

Additionally, genotyping is the ideal application for seldom or valuable animals like birds or reptiles where microchip methods could be problematic. Here, also sexing is an important application that is possible by genotyping.

Food control
Genotyping enables the assignment of meat and meat products to an individual, if the genetic fingerprint was prepared before. If no reference specimen is present, the comparison can be performed facing the sires and/or parents. Hence, a random sample system can be established that enables regular controls.  Another approach is the assignment of a meat or meat product to a specific animal species.

Species conservation
If there is suspicion that protected animal species were found at a retailer or importer, genotyping gives the possibility to detect if the animals are followers (comparison of the DNA profile to the putative sires) or romps.
4. What can the required DNA be isolated from for the analysis?
Sampling is dependent on the animal species and usage of the samples. The easiest way is to take oral swabs using cotton wool wads that are completely harmless for the animal and especially suitable for small animals.

Often, 1 mL EDTA blood for mammals or 0.1 to 0.2 mL EDTA blood for birds, reptiles, etc. (animals with erythrocytes containing a cell nucleus) are used. Besides, DNA can also be isolated from hair roots and pinfeathers. Using oral swabs, it is important to apply this only for animals that are no longer suckled as maternal cells from the milk in the oral cavity could adulterate the result. Using hair roots, please ensure that the hairs could not originate from other animals that are in contact with the respective animal.
5. How should the samples be submitted?
The blood, swab or hair samples can be send unchilled by postal service but should be labeled clearly. A detailed questionnaire can be requested.
6. How long does it take to receive the result?
Generally, the analysis result is send two weeks after sample reception.
7. How much is the DNA analysis?
Please request the specific price for your query through our contact form. For some animals there exist specific contracts with breeding associations.
8. How the results are delivered?
The results/certificates will be send to the person who submitted the samples. If a breeding association has send the sample the result will be forwarded by the breeding association to the animal owner. In consultation with the breeding association the results can be entered into a central database, if the animal owner agrees.
9. What happens with the DNA samples after the analysis
If desired, the DNA can be stored for longer time at Eurofins. Please let us know, if this will be required.