More for Less

DNA Test Prices Continue to Moderate

(DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Becky Mills)

The U.S. cattle industry continues to raise the bar on breed quality, thanks in part to the increasing affordability and accuracy of genetic tests. Neogen GeneSeek has announced a new genotyping tool for seedstock producers, bringing those costs down even more.

The new GeneSeek Genomic Profiler (GGP) Ultra-Low Density (uLD) test is expected to be popular for genotyping seedstock replacement heifers. It uses high-accuracy imputation to higher-density SNP arrays, at about one-third the price, explained Stewart Bauck, general manager of Neogen GeneSeek Operations.

The final price for testing will be determined by breed associations, however a range of between $30 and $35 per test is anticipated. As an example of pricing, the Red Angus Association of America website lists the uLD test at $34; while the GGP Low Density (LD) test is $48, and the GGP High Density (HD) test is $90. All include parent verification.

LD and uLD genetic tests are more affordable because they use a process called imputation to amplify a smaller sample for results. The accuracy is considered to be statistically equivalent to that of a HD test.

"As you look at the evolution of these new tests, accuracy of genotyping tools is increasing while cost is dropping," Bauck added.

Genotyping replacement heifers at the seedstock level would allow breeders to add value to heifers, selling them with genomically enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs). This could help commercial cattlemen manage the direction of their future herds, in terms of maternal, performance and carcass traits. The ultimate outcome is faster breed improvement and performance.

Check with your breed association to see if they are currently offering the uLD. For more information on genetic testing for beef cattle, see these websites:……