Tonya Amen, AGI
During the second portion of the Breed Improvement session, Dr. Amen answered the question "How can we avoid sample failure when DNA testing animals?" She gave four points:
- Have proper collectors on hand. Blood samples are preferred, as the process can be automated. Blood samples can also be archived, whereas tissue samples cannot be. Contact your DNA service provide or see the Angus website. Have samples properly identified. "You cannot invent your own collection system!" said Amen. A business card, airline barf bag, and other home-remedies won't work!
- Practice good sampling technique. Make sure you have a nickel sized spot that has soaked completely through the card. Do not send wet samples-mold will grow like crazy! Make sure samples dry overnight in a safe place (not the dash of your truck!).
- Package well. Padded envelopes work well.
- Consider shipping method. How long will the sample be in transit?
Staff at AGI have a mantra about blood card sampling—Donor Dams Die. Collect samples on your animals, even if you think you will never DNA test that animal. Better to be safe than sorry.
When sampling twins, hair samples are required due to twins sharing blood in the cows uterus.
If blood cards are stored at home, store in a cool dry place and do not store in plastic.