ARS: DNA fingerprinting for livestock promotes health and safety
Identifying individual animals is essential to controlling diseases and monitoring international imports and exports.
To find out who’s who in a herd, scientists and cattle industry professionals rely on DNA — especially when traditional animal identification has been lost or damaged. Highly specialized genetic markers, developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb., are helping to improve animal identification and parentage testing.
The most common type of genetic marker present in U.S. beef and dairy cattle is the “single nucleotide polymorphism” or SNP. The scientists have already identified 122 specialized parentage SNPs and annotated more than 1,600 neighboring SNPs. This knowledge has increased the accuracy of parentage and identification tests.