Herefords Australia Limited uses the University of Queensland (UQ) for all DNA testing services and provides the testing service at a discounted rate to members via our negotiated contract with the University.
Please note - In order to be in a position to utilise genomic technologies, Herefords Australia have decided to move DNA testing from microsatellite technology (MIPs) to Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). All new samples received for DNA testing as of 1 July 2016 will be tested using SNP
SNP based DNA gives Herefords Australia the opportunity to genotype animals that will enable more accurate performance recording, better detection of genetic conditions as well as more accurate linkages though genetic relationships rather than just pedigrees.
Click Here to view the move to SNP Based DNA fact sheet
Submitting Suitable Samples
Hair samples have become the material of choice for DNA typing. It is important to remember the DNA is only found in the hair follicles or the hair roots. We recommend that the animals be at least 60 days old before you take the samples. On younger animals, the hair is very fine and tends to break close to the skin leaving the hair roots behind. These samples cannot be tested.
Before you actually get the hair samples from your animals, you will need the following:
- Hair bags (e.g. For submitting samples to the University of Queensland). These bags can be obtained by contacting Herefords Australia. A DNA Testing Form must be sent with the bags. Make sure you complete the Testing Form for each animal with all relevant animal identification information before collection. Any samples with incomplete details or not submitted correctly will not be processed.
- Cleaning Materials (e.g. comb, brush, water and bucket, paper towels etc.). To obtain a good hair sample make sure that the tail switch is clean. A simple yet good brushing is usually sufficient to remove excess dirt and manure. Dirty samples may not be accepted by the laboratory. Wash your hands before you take each sample to prevent contamination between samples. A single hair follicle from another animal is enough to contaminate the whole hair sample.
- Collection Procedures. Make sure you read the instructions for collection on the back of the collection kit carefully before you begin. Remember to only include one animal's hair sample per bag.
If you have any doubts about the quality of the hair sample, discard it and pull another one.
If members have purchased semen for a registered sire not already DNA tested then they should retain one straw of that bull's semen to allow DNA testing if needed. Australia Post allows the sending of liquid biological material such as semen through the ordinary post provided the dispatch procedures are followed carefully.
Liquid nitrogen is not necessary for submitting semen samples
Wrap the straw between firm cardboard layers and write the animal’s identifier on the cardboard layer.
Submit with a DNA Testing form to the Herefords Australia office.
DNA Testing Form
The HornPoll test is used to determine whether an animal is ‘true polled’ (homozygous -PP-), or is a carrier of horned genetics (heterozygous -PH-).
The polled variant of the gene (P) is usually dominant to the horned variant of the gene (H), which means polled animals may be either PP or PH. Homozygous -PP- animals will always pass a copy of the polled variant to their offspring, increasing the likelihood that the offspring will be polled.
Results are published on each animal tested and are visible on the animal enquiry screen. For testing costs please see our Schedule of Fees under Forms on the website.
There are three genetic conditions that have been identified in the Hereford breed. These are:
- Idiopathic Epilepsy
These genetic conditions have primarily been identified in overseas Hereford populations, although there have been a few isolated cases reported within Australia. It is anticipated that these genetic conditions have existed in the Hereford breed for many decades with minimal economic impact.
Hypotrichosis (HY) - Partial to almost complete lack of hair. Affected calves are often born with very short, fine, kinky hair that may fall out leaving bare spots or areas particularly susceptible to rubbing. The condition may vary in expression as the animal matures and is usually less noticeable in older animals. The coat hair colour will sometimes appear "frosted" or "silverish." The tail switch may also be underdeveloped. Hypotrichosis is caused by a recessive allele which means that affected calves will only occur when two carrier animals are mated together. Hypotrichosis has been reported in the Hereford breed for many decades and is non-lethal.
Dilutor (DL) - This is a coat colour abnormality that can be found when a Hereford bull that is a carrier of the dilutor gene is mated to a black cow. A certain number of the resulting calves are born with grey, smokey or chocolate coats (approx. 50%). Diluter is not an abnormality that causes any issues with calf performance. Dilutor is caused by a dominant allele, which means calves that are expected to have a black coat colour are born with a smoke colour coat because the dilutor allele is dominant to the black allele.
Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE) - Age of onset of first seizure can be variable, ranging from birth to several months of age. Occurrence and persistence of seizures may be influenced by environmental stress factors such as temperature extremes or increased physical activity. Upon initial onset of seizure episodes, individuals will typically lie on their side with all limbs extended in a rigid state. Manual flexing of the limbs is possible, but return to the extended position occurs after release. Seizure episodes may last from several minutes to more than an hour. Idiopathic epilepsy can lead to death and affected animals have not been known to reproduce. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by a recessive allele which means that affected calves will only occur when two carrier animals are mated together.
The Board wishes to stress that the incidence of these genetic conditions in the Australian Hereford cattle population is not expected to be high, with the resulting economic impact of each condition also likely to be minimal, particularly in the case of Hypotrichosis and Dilutor.
Testing of these conditions is done through the University of Queensland. Please send samples and a DNA Testing form to the Herefords Australia office as you would for standard (i.e. hair sample) DNA testing.
Results are loaded against animals and are displayed on the animal enquiry screen. For testing costs please see our Schedule of Fees under Forms on the website.
Any members with further questions regarding the genetic conditions that have been identified, or requiring advice regarding the management of the genetic conditions within their herd, should contact staff at the Herefords Australia office (02) 6772 1399 or Alex McDonald at SBTS (02) 6773 2472.
It is now a requirement for the Herefords Australia National Show & Sale (Wodonga), the Herefords Australia National Show & Sale (Dubbo), some Royal Shows and local shows throughout Australia that animals must not be pestivirus carriers. Please see the publication below from the NSW Department of Primary Industries which explains how the Bovine pestivirus operates.
Pestivirus testing is conducted by EMAI from a hair sample. Refer to costs below.
1 - 9 $13.20 per sample (GST inc)
10 - 19 $9.70 per sample (GST inc)
20+ $8.20 per sample (GST inc)
Send your samples along with the forms below to EMAI for testing. If you require collection kits or further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 4640 6337.
Bovine Pestivirus Infection DPI publication
For further information please contact the Registrar by clicking here or phone 02 6772 1399.