Parentage testing/Verification of Identity

As for humans, DNA analysis enables parentage testing and verification of an animal’s identity as well. For that purpose, microsatellite analysis is a commonly used technique. This internationally standardised method allows for verification of parentage or identity of breeding animals at any time. The obtained DNA profile is unique, tamper-proof and unalterable throughout an animal’s life. Even post mortem, such a profile can be established from different tissues or from animal products such as meat or milk.

At present we offer the verification of parentage and identity in horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and dogs.

Parentage testing determines whether the animal’s putative parents can be considered as its genetic parents. In this process the DNA profile of the offspring is compared to those of the presumed parents. Since each parent contributes 50% to an offspring’s genetic information, each allelic variant of an offspring must be detected in either father’s or mother’s profile. Likewise, presumable parentage of a single parent can be tested (e.g. if the second parent is not in doubt or if no DNA profile is available) or multiple potential parents can be included in the analysis.
In addition to parentage verification, DNA profiles play an important role in the identification of animals.

DNA profiles enable unambiguous identification of an animal at any time and therefore are essential in fields of traceability of food and/or animal as well as in the context of judicial cases or insurance claims.

Genetic Disorders

Malignant Hyperthermia in pigs, also called Porcine Stress Syndrome (PSS) is a hereditary disposition to increased stress sensitivity. This autosomal recessive trait is caused by a single base exchange within the ryanodine receptor gene (RYR1) and affects the calcium metabolism of muscle cells.

Due to the long-established selection of meaty, low-fat pork, the genetic defect has accumulated in many breeds because carriers of the gene have a higher meat and lower fat content. However, meat is often of inferior quality (PSE pork). In addition, exposition to severe stress (e.g. transportation, change of barn compartment, high temperatures, etc.) often leads to sudden death in PSS pigs or in less severe cases results in muscle cell damage caused by the accumulation of harmful metabolic products.

Genetic testing identifies PSS genotypes for selection of breeding animals.