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How genomics fits

Genotyping is a service provided by genotyping companies to determine the animal’s gene sequence. The genotyping provider can use tissue samples for DNA parentage testing or genotyping. There are several companies that provide genotyping services; these companies are listed on the Sheep Genetics website.

DNA parentage

To get DNA parentage tests, you need to contact the genotyping company who will provide you with tissue sampling units. Once you’ve collected the samples and sent them to the company, they will sequence the DNA and send it to the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU). AGBU determines the relationships and send the information back to the company, who will then send it back to you. Once you have uploaded the animals onto the Sheep Genetics system with a unique 16 digit ID, you can submit the parentage information you have received.


Genotyping takes a closer look at the animal’s genes using more information to find relationships with the reference population and the resource flock. The reference population includes all the other sheep in the Sheep Genetics database that have been genotyped. The resource flock is a flock of sheep that have been tested for many traits including those that are hard to measure such as eating quality.

The key benefit to getting animals genotyped is that you are able to make selection decisions based on traits you have not yet measured. For example, a young ram that has been genotyped and found to have genetic relationships with other genotyped rams that have had progeny that are measured for reproduction and eating quality traits. You are then able to get more accurate ASBVs on the young ram for those reproduction and eating quality traits even though he’s never had any progeny, therefore allowing you to make more informed breeding decisions.

Genotyping involves taking a tissue sample from the sheep then sending it off to the genotyping provider. The company creates the genotype and sends it straight into the analysis to be used when the sheep exist with a 16 digit ID in the database. You are able to get both a genotype and a DNA parentage test using the same sample – just ask the genotyping provider.