Sheep DNA parentage and the role it plays in ASBVs

Accurate parentage information is one of the most important factors in accelerating the rate of genetic gain in a flock, so it makes sense that DNA testing is fast-becoming standard practice in the seedstock industry.

Sheep DNA testing for parentage provides crucial information that enhances the accuracy of your stud’s breeding values, and NEOGEN’s solutions can quickly and accurately provide a full pedigree, saving breeders time and labour.

The benefits of DNA testing for parentage are two-fold. As well as providing more accurate pedigree information than traditional parentage methods, it also improves the overall accuracy of the breed’s Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs).

In the absence of accurate parentage, information on individual animal breeding values can only be based off the animal’s performance records as measured by the breeder during its lifetime.

The reliability of this information in predicting breeding performance is enhanced significantly when combined with data from relatives, including parents, siblings and progeny and allows breeders to make superior ram and ewe selections.

The power of knowing an animal’s sire allows paternal half siblings to also be used in the individual animal’s breeding value evaluation, while correct identification of an animal’s dam is essential for measuring traits around weaning time and accounting for the animal’s pre-weaning environment.

Using the most accurate form of parentage assignment of DNA testing increases accuracy of selection with the flow-on benefits of increasing genetic gain across the flock by 1-2% and an increase in ASBV accuracy of up to 35% in Terminal sheep breeds.

Along with accurate parentage assignment, DNA parentage testing can also relieve some management constraints from multi-sire lambing paddocks.

NEOGEN is Australia’s largest and leading animal genomics laboratory, and its sheep DNA testing solutions were developed as part of its long-term research and development partnership with the former Sheep CRC.

NEOGEN’s sheep DNA parentage testing is available as a stand-alone product or part of NEOGEN’s Sheep Genomic test.

Visit or contact your NEOGEN Territory Manager to start testing today.