Tissue Sampling Unit (TSU) for DNA Collection

One simple step opens a whole world of insightful predictions. The livestock industry is constantly evolving and advancing, that is why Neogen® has worked closely with Allflex to provide you with an advanced, quicker, and easier way to collect DNA samples.

Tissue sampling units or TSU’s are the most widely used sample type for production animals and support our laboratory methods that enable quicker turnaround times and high-quality results. It is a quick and simple method of collecting DNA.

These units use an ear punch to take a small tissue sample, placing it directly into a sealed vial for processing. This replaces the more complex tasks of collecting hair, blood, semen or other sample types used for DNA testing.

A single-squeeze motion collects a sample in seconds with minimum need for restraint or distress to the animal. The genetic material is sealed in a specially designed vial to prevent contamination.

Tissue samples contain a large quantity of high-quality DNA for genetic analysis, yielding excellent lab results, maximising sample integrity and ensuring you have confidence in the results you receive for each animal.

The TSU is fully sealed and positively identified with both a 2D barcode and ID panel. We can provide custom DNA collection.

Allflex TSUs can be purchased from Neogen Australasia. Applicators and TSU racks are available too. For more information or to order a sample collection kit, contact customer service or your local territory manager.

  • Quick, simple, and clean process.
  • Sample at any age, even day-old calves.
  • Receive more data from one sample. 
  • Positively identified with both a 2D barcode and ID panel.
  • Be sure that if the animal has been freshly tattooed that all ink is avoided in the sample.
  • If sampling a newborn calf, be sure to wipe the ear clean so that no DNA is transferred from the dam.
  • Be sure that there is tissue within the TSU before releasing the animal, and that the tissue is submerged in the buffer.
  • TSUs can be stored for up to one year at room temperature.
  • Be sure to note which sample belongs to which animal.

The Do’s

  • Sample calves as soon as possible for the earliest results
  • Wipe off any excess dirt with water and towel
  • Position cutter approximately 1 inch from the edge of the ear, avoiding veins
  • Squeeze handles together in one swift, fluid, motion with enough force to pierce the ear
  • Check to ensure sample is present and submerged in buffer and that excess hair isn’t protruding from the top
  • Remove cutter by pulling handles apart
  • Store samples in dark, temperature controlled room for up to 12 months
  • For long term storage (over 12 months), place samples in deep freezer without auto-defrost capability

The Don’ts

  • Sample “wet” calves – the placenta and fluid could cause a failed sample
  • Use chemicals to clean off the ear – bleach degrades DNA
  • Position cutter over any tattoo ink
  • Squeeze handles together with excess force (shouldn’t take as much as ear tagging) that would damage the TSU
  • Place TSU in box without ensuring sample is present
  • Use pliers to remove cutter
  • Place samples in direct sunlight or heat
  • Store samples in auto-defrost freezers – such as the one in your kitchen
  • General Issues
    1. Biological contamination
    2. Cross contamination between samples/animals
    3. Fecal matter or dirt in sample
  • Chemical contamination
    1. Dye/pigment from animal markers
    2. Insect repellant
    3. Cleaning agents
  • Improper storage
    1. Heat exposure including leaving the samples in vehicle or in hot sun
    2. Exposure to foreign material including mold
    3. Improper frozen storage- the freeze/thaw cycle of a self-defrosting unit can degrade DNA
    4. Extended sample storage- DNA degrades over time
  • Insufficient sample
  • Improper shipping
No. Semen straws or tail hair cards can also be submitted for the genotyping of beef animals, however these sample types attract a surcharge due to the additional steps required to process them within the DNA laboratory, and are not the preferred sample type in most circumstances. Contact us for further information about collecting these sample types.

Tissue Sampling Instructions: How to load the applicator & take the sample

For detailed instructions, refer to the kit manual provided with your TSU order. This guide has been designed to help ensure that you get the best possible result out of what has become the most accepted tissue sampling system.

TSU’s should be stored at room temperature prior to use (for a maximum period of 12 months). Care should be taken not to expose the unused product to extremes of heat or cold prior to sampling.

Step 1
Take an assembled TSU i.e the cutter, connection piece and collection tube.

Step 2
Squeeze the two spring loaded retainer clips together.

Step 3
And insert the TSU as shown in the picture.

Step 4
After insertion of the TSU, release the spring loaded clips to lock in the tube.

Step 5
Carefully squeeze the plier handles until the large piston comes to a stop against the red connection piece.

Step 6
You have now completely grabbed the cutter. After the cutter is inserted into the piston you can release the handles.

Step 7
You can now easily remove the red connection piece while holding the two red tabs and pushing sideways.