The samples are
used for different research depending on the needs of the
lab. One of the most important uses is the genome mapping
project being conducted by the USMARC at Clay Center,
Nebraska. The USMARC develops the protocol that make it
possible to accurately test different breeds of animals.
If there are no samples there can be
no research. Therefore, the breeds that participate the most
in these studies inevitably have more research done by more
labs and agencies.
samples are prepared
First off, the material that is tested must be tissue
or blood. If
you pull hair to send to the lab most of it is thrown away.
The only part that is used is the follicles or tags at the
end of the hair. This is why the hair can not be cut but has
to be pulled.
Getting good samples does not mean the animal can not be
dead. It only means the sample has to be preserved in a
state that will allow the scientist to extract the DNA. If
you send in a blood sample that has been frozen you have
Semen that has thawed can still be extracted for DNA even
though the cells are dead. In fact, most samples are shipped
on ice and not frozen to cryogenic state. Of course, this
semen could not be used to breed cattle but it is fine for
Once the sample is received in the lab the process of
extracting DNA begins. Most of the process involves cleaning
the material in many repetitive steps in order to get the
actual DNA with no impurities. This is the most time
consuming and critical part of the process.
Once the sample has been extracted a test for purity is
done. This test tells the lab personnel if the material that
has been extracted has enough DNA to run further tests. If
not, the process starts over with new samples.
After all this effort the sample is ready to be tested.
The extracted DNA is put into a sequencer which basically
does everything automatically. The results are then
deciphered to find the answer the customer needs, like
parentage, tenderness, etc.
Want to learn more about basic DNA and