Tissue sampling units deliver faster and more accurate genetic selection

Beef Central, 02/09/2019

THE switch from hair samples to using tissue sampling units (TSUs) has resulted in faster and more accurate collection of DNA for genomic analysis for Armidale NSW cattle breeder Richard Ogilvie.

The principal of Te-Angie Poll Herefords, Mr Ogilvie has been DNA testing animals from his 350-cow stud herd for almost 10 years, as part of a strategic program to improve the quality of the progeny from his 1000- commercial breeders.

He uses genomic testing to identify parentage and production traits for performance recording programs, as well as identifying animals with genetic defects.

“In particular I use the poll marker gene to help select sires to ensure my entire herd are pure polled as there is stronger demand for polled animals,” he said.

In the past Mr Ogilvie has collected DNA by sourcing tail hairs from cattle and recording by hand which sample was taken from which animal – a time consuming process prone to human error.

“TSUs are quicker, easier and there’s less chance of a mix up when your collecting samples. With the TSU, unless you’re very careless, it can’t be mixed up,” he said.

When using TSUs the DNA samples are collected into bar-coded vials which can be scanned into a producer’s data management system – a system which is faster and results in far fewer mistaken assignments of samples to animals.

Mr Ogilvie undertakes his DNA testing through Neogen, which operates Australia’s largest livestock genomic testing laboratory at Gatton, Queensland.

Working in conjunction with industry bodies BreedPlan and Sheep Genetics, it provides DNA testing for a range of genetic traits in both cattle and sheep, including parentage, horn-poll, heritable genetic defects, and productive traits such as growth rates, fat, and eating quality.

Neogen Australasia Senior Director, Business Development and Research Dr Russell Lyons said TSUs were by far the preferred form for analysing DNA samples, as they were faster to process and delivered a higher rate of successful processing due to the superior sample quality.

“Genomic testing allows animal breeders to make more informed decisions and improve the productivity and profitability of their businesses by accessing more precise information earlier in an animal’s lifecycle,” Dr Lyons said.

“By providing TSUs, Neogen can deliver test results back to producers more quickly. This is because the tissue samples are stored cleanly in the sealed vials, resulting in fewer re-runs, and they can be processed automatically using our laboratory’s robotic processing equipment.”

Neogen has been delivering objective genetic technology for the Australian industry since 1995, previously operating as Geneseek, and UQ Animal Genetics Laboratory.


  • TSUs are available through rural stores or directly from Neogen; more information on genomic testing packages is available from Neogen




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  1. Alf David, 03/09/2019

    TSU seems like an interesting and exciting way to genetically test cattle. I’ll have to investigate, although I am guessing the cost is probably prohibitive.

    In saying that, I’m surprised a breeder like the one mentioned in this article uses TSU considering he only sold a handful of stud bulls in 2018 and then nothing this year – he pretty much has stud cows as a hobby. So, it might actually indicated it doesn’t cost too much.

    Anyone know the cost?

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