Genotyping Handling, Timeline & Cost

Genotyping Handling, Timeline & Cost

Sheep Ireland’s Ciara Long presented the Ovidata genotyping process at the Sheep Ireland Industry Meeting held on Monday 29th April 2019 in Tullamore Court Hotel, County Offaly. The synopsis of Ciara’s presentation on the day are outlined below. View Ciara’s full presentation for the day here.

Weatherby’s Ireland have been confirmed as the new lab that will provide genotyping services to Sheep Ireland going forward. This will mean the turnaround time on receiving results will be greatly improved due to samples being genotyped in Ireland and results automatically flowing into the Sheep Ireland database.

Depending on how quickly the breeder returns the tissue samples there is the potential to have results within a 4-week period (from when Sheep Ireland receive the sample).

The Steps are as follows:

  1. Farmers login to their Sheep Ireland account and select the animals they wish to genotype (animals must have an NSIS recorded). This facility is open to LambPlus and non-LambPlus breeders. So even if you are only a member of a breed society you can avail of this facility.
  2. Once the sample has been ordered the breeder should receive the DNA tags within 3-5 working days from the tag provider. The breeder takes the tissue sample and the tag should remain in the ear (if any questions around parentage results arise this tag will rule out a sampling error by the farmer). Breeders return the samples using a pre-addressed envelope.
  3. Sheep Ireland receive the DNA samples and log them on the database, samples will be sent to the lab weekly.
  4. Once the lab receives the samples they will begin the genotyping process the following week.
  5. Once the genotyping process has taken place, the lab issues a result file which is sent to the Sheep Ireland database. At this point the database automatically applies quality control checks, parentage verification is run on all genotypes and predictions are applied.
  6. Results are thoroughly analysed and tested before the update the breeder’s results profile. If parentage errors exist, breeder’s as well as societies will be notified, with incorrect parentage being removed/updated. Breeder’s can check their results via their Genomic Results Screen on

Genotyping Plans

Subsidised genotyping now applies to all LambPlus flocks at €10 per animal (this will be re-assessed after the first 1000 genotypes). This facility is open to all breeds. The full genotyping cost applies to non-LambPlus flocks and is €24.50 per animal.

DNA Collection & Handling

To accurately carry out parentage tests and scrapie analysis the call rates of the extracted DNA samples must be above 0.90 and 0.95 respectively. If an animal is below these thresholds the breeder will need to re sample the animal (Free of charge). It is therefore extremely important how we handle and store DNA samples as this will have an impact on the quality of the sample at testing.

DNA collection

  • Follow the DNA collection guide enclosed with you DNA tags
  • Ensure the sheep is properly restrained
  • Only take samples from clean & dry ears
  • Disinfect the ear after the sample is taken
  • Leave the tag in the ear

Handling DNA Samples

  • Refrigerate samples ASAP (avoid freeze thawing of samples)
  • Send samples at the start-mid week to avoid samples being stuck in the post over the weekend