Start Preparing Now for Upcoming DNA Requirements

shutterstock_233098192 [Converted]Following recent registration and importation investigations, the American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA) feels there is a growing need to protect the integrity of the breed’s herd books.
During the Board of Directors meeting on April 29, a subcommittee of the Executive Committee appointed by President Sartwelle chaired by Loren Pratt and consisting of J.D. Sartwelle, Jr., Dr. Craig Fontenot, John Coleman Locke, Chris Shivers and Armelinda Ibarra, presented the ABBA’s rules outlining proposed changes to the DNA testing requirements.

During the meeting it was explained the motion for the changes had to be adopted in full or not at all, and the changes were adopted in full. This will be a big change for breeders going forward, especially those who are competing in open shows, utilizing artificial insemination and/or embryo transfer and importing animals.

According to the ABBA’s press release, “Many scenarios and implications of the rule changes were discussed in great length. Although this is a big step and a burden to some, the committee agreed that it was imperative that ABBA take measures to protect the integrity of the herd book. The proposed rule changes as presented to the Board were approved." (See sidebar on page 15 for complete rules).

Procedure for DNA-Testing

New Year’s Day 2017 will be here before you know it, so breeders are encouraged to start preparing for upcoming DNA requirements now.

According to ABBA Recording Secretary Armelinda Ibarra, it takes Zoetis approximately four to six weeks after receiving samples to return DNA results. If an animal requires multiple tests to confirm parentage, it could take additional time and breeders should be prepared. Therefore the ABBA is asking members to start testing animals prior to submitting applications for registration to the ABBA office.

To start the process, ABBA members will need to contact the association’s Houston office via phone (713-349-0854) or email ( to request DNA parentage test kits. It is important to note that DNA kits MUST be requested directly from the ABBA at the $35 fee (recently reduced from $40). If a DNA kit is purchased from Zoetis, members will be responsible for the $25 fee, plus the $35 ABBA recordation fee.

When submitting requests, know that the association will need private herd numbers, registration numbers (if applicable) and the sex of the animals being tested. The ABBA office will then send the breeder animal-specific hair kits with detailed instructions for collecting samples. Breeders will send their samples to the Zoetis laboratory for processing. The DNA test results will be sent directly to the ABBA office in Houston, which in turn will verify animal data. Once this process is completed the Houston office will forward the completed DNA results to the Kansas City office. The Kansas City office will alert members and handle billing. Once billed and released the Kansas City staff will process any pending registrations.

The new rules require embryo transfer calves and any calves showing in open classes, born after January 1, 2017, to have a DNA fingerprint on file for both the sire and dam so that calves can be verified before registration/showing. It follows that show prospects will need to be tested very young to assure their eligibility to show in calf classes and that breeders should start testing their herd now to prevent any delays.

New DNA Requirements

1. Imported animals- the rules were initially included in the ABBA Rules and then removed at one of the previous re-writes. The last several years we have been registering cattle that were imported through the reciprocity process. The reciprocity process was initially implemented to allow breeders outside of the USA to register cattle that would be used in their herds in the ABBA. The language regarding imported animals will require additional documentation, testing and procedures than reciprocity which should help insure the parentage and legal importation of animals. This is not intended to prevent the future importation of animals.

2. Cell cloned animals must be verified back to the donor.

3. Effective January 1, 2019 - all AI sired calves must be parent verified to their sire. This means that all AI calves (in herd or out of herd) must be DNA verified to their sire who must have a DNA profile on file.

4. All animals born January 1, 2017 and after MUST be DNA Parent Verified before they can be shown in ABBA Approved Open Shows. This will become effective at the Fall 2017 shows when these calves will first be shown. Prior to the animal being shown the sire and dam must have been DNA typed and then the calf being shown must match the sire and dam. Once the parentage is verified, the registration certificate will be stamped indicating that it is verified. This is only for open shows and will not affect the All American or other junior shows.

5. Effective January 1, 2017 - all animals sold in ABBA Approved Sales must be parent verified to both the sire and dam.

6. Effective January 1, 2017 all animals in the ABBA Performance Programs (Bull Test and Carcass Evaluation Program) must be DNA verified. The DNA typing of the participating animals is being done as part of the test but will require that the sires and dams of these animals already be on file.

7. Effective January 1, 2017 - all embryo calves must be parent verified to both their sire and dam prior to being registered. This will require that both the sire and dam have a DNA fingerprint on file prior to January 1 so that the calves can be verified before registration.

8. The proposed rules include a provision for random DNA parent verification testing. This random testing will require that a third party pull a sample from the designated animal for verification.

9. DNA Parent Verification Fee reduction from $40/test to $35/test.

The revised Rules are updated on the ABBA website. Members wanting a printed copy may contact the ABBA office in Houston.