GeneMark Genomics booklet

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Find out more about the future of DNA testing

GeneMark Genomics is yet another tool in farmers’ toolboxes to improve their herds and breed better cows faster. By offering parentage verification and genomic evaluation in one convenient service, farmers can take the guesswork out of matching calves to their parents for added precision in their breeding programme, while also confidently selecting their highest genetic merit animals to join their milking herd.

Benefits of GeneMark Genomics

  • Make informed breeding decisions by identifying superior genetics in your herd at a younger age.
  • Get improved reliability of your animals’ breeding values with a complete assessment of their genomic profile.
  • Reduce stress at calving time and prevent the mismothering of calves.
  • Increase the market value of your herd through having accurate genetic merit information.
  • Reduce the risk of inbreeding.

Genomics is the study of genes and how those genes are expressed. Genes of interest in dairy cows can include those that control key traits such as fat and protein production, liveweight, fertility, and others.

Genomic evaluation adds an animal’s own DNA to its evaluation to better estimate those traits of interest. The improved estimation of traits is reflected in higher reliability figures. The higher the reliability, the closer the breeding value is to the animal’s true genetic merit.

The table below shows how an animal’s breeding values deviate from its parent average once its own DNA information is added to the evaluation. This animal’s DNA information indicates that overall, she is better than parent average – particularly for fat, liveweight and somatic cell count.

Although some breeding values go up and some go down, the outcome is a more accurate prediction of this animal’s genetic merit.

Genomic evaluation is available for female animals only.

Heifer calf

Trait

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)

Trait gBW

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
318/30

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
405/45

Trait Fat gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
29.5/32

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
46.0/48

Trait Protein gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
14.6/32

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
17.8/48

Trait Volume gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
-204/33

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
-86/49

Trait Liveweight gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
2.6/26

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
-3.3/43

Trait Somatic Cell gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
-0.10/31

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
-0.18/46

Trait Fertility gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
2.0/28

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
-1.9/37

Trait BCS gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
0.19/23

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
0.16/38

Trait Functional Survival gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
4.3/17

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
4.2/28

Trait Udder Overall gBV

Parent average
(½ Sire + ½ Dam)
0.44/23

Following our Genomic evaluation service
(½ Sire + ½ Dam + animal’s DNA information)
0.97/36

Source: LIC genomic evaluation model outputs, November 2023

For more information on GeneMark Genomics please read our FAQ’s.

Simply take a small tissue sample from your animals’ ear and send it to our GeneMark laboratory for DNA parentage and genomic evaluation testing. After receiving the sample, we will then match your animals to dams and sires used for artificial breeding to determine their parentage.

You can choose to sample none, some or all of your dams, however sampling all dams enables calves to have complete DNA-verified ancestry and has significant benefit to your herd and the dairy sector by increasing the reliability of the progeny’s breeding value, prevents inbreeding, and ensures good record maintenance.

Natural mating sires can be sampled for DNA parentage testing but will not receive a GEv.

If you are opted in with MINDA as your NAIT information provider, calves must be recorded with a NAIT approved RFID within 7 days of tagging to be NAIT compliant. You can register your calves through one of the two ways below:

  1. Complete the GeneMark create animals form and follow the instructions on the form to download the GeneMark Calf Registration template. Include all birth identification tags used, the birth month, year born & the location the animals were born on.
  2. Record your calves against dams on MINDA® LIVE or the MINDA App within 7 days of tagging.

For more information on these requirements, visit our NAIT compliance page.

Transitional Period Pricing

GeneMark Genomics will be available from June this year. Transitional prices will apply for samples receipted between February and May 2024.

The price you pay depends on the time of year you send in your samples for GeneMark Genomic testing. Please find full pricing details below.

GeneMark Genomic testing options

GeneMark Genomics provides both parentage verification and genomic evaluation in one convenient service, helping to identify your best performers at a younger age.

Product

Test Type

Price per sample excl. GST

Product Off peak - Young stock (received
between January and August inclusive)

Test Type DNA Parentage & Genomic Evaluation

Price per sample excl. GST $29.99

Product On peak - Young stock (received
between September and December inclusive)

Test Type DNA Parentage & Genomic Evaluation

Price per sample excl. GST $32.99

Product Off peak - Dams (received between January and August inclusive)

Test Type DNA Parentage & Genomic Evaluation

Price per sample excl. GST $19.99

*Prices effective 1 June 2024.

Additional GeneMark Services

Product

Test Information

Price per sample excl. GST

Product BVD Ag ELISA test

Test Information Animals over 35 days old

Price per sample excl. GST $14.05

Product BVD PCR test

Test Information Animals of any age

Price per sample excl. GST $14.05

Product A2/A2 only Tissue test

Test Information Use a tissue sample to test for the A2/A2 gene

Price per sample excl. GST $26.25

Product A2/A2 Retrospective test

Test Information Existing G3 or Genomic Evaluation profile required

Price per sample excl. GST $13.65

Product A2/A2 Milk test

Test Information Use your herd test samples to test for the A2/A2 protein

Price per sample excl. GST $25.20

* Prices effective 1 June 2024.

Results for GeneMark Genomics will be delivered in phases.

  • Parentage for all samples will be delivered within four weeks from your lab booking date.
  • We are aiming for a total estimated turnaround time for parentage and GEv results at 6 weeks for young stock samples and 9 weeks for dam samples.
  • There may be an extension to these turnaround times initially as we introduce this new product into our systems.

This season, GeneMark has delivered 95% of all parentage reports within four weeks and we commit to continually improving this turnaround time for you. See full turnaround times below.

GeneMark Genomics Turnaround times

GeneMark Genomics

Turnaround time

GeneMark Genomics DNA parentage results

Turnaround time 4 weeks for all samples

GeneMark Genomics Parentage & genomic evaluation (GEv) results

Turnaround time Young stock: 6 weeks

GeneMark Genomics Parentage & genomic evaluation (GEv) results

Turnaround time Dam: 9 weeks

Additional GeneMark testing options Turnaround times

Additional GeneMark testing options

Turnaround time

Additional GeneMark testing options BVD Antigen (Ag) testing

Turnaround time 2-3 working days

Additional GeneMark testing options BVD PCR testing

Turnaround time 5-7 working days

Additional GeneMark testing options A2 Only testing

Turnaround time 3 weeks

Additional GeneMark testing options A2 Retrospective testing

Turnaround time 10 working days

Additional GeneMark testing options A2 Milk testing

Turnaround time 10 working days

Collecting tissue samples for DNA & GEv testing is easy.

The only equipment you need is a GeneMark Allflex applicator gun and some GeneMark Allflex punch kits. Each punch kit contains 10 tissue sampling units (TSUs). Please ensure you order wet tissue sampling units (TSU).

You can order sampling equipment by:

Using the applicator gun is as simple as using an ear tagger — no special skills required. Store the samples in your fridge until you're ready to courier them to our laboratory and include a completed TSU sample submission form. Use a new submission form for each LIC participant code.

For added support, check out our handy guides below:

Make use of our free On-Farm Support team service to help you take tissue samples.

We provide a free Field Assist to first-time GeneMark Genomics customers (terms and conditions may apply). Our On-Farm Support team will help you take the tissue samples and ensure your records are up to date. Please talk to your Agri Manager to arrange this service.

You can combine GeneMark Genomics testing with A2 or BVD testing.

By using the same tissue samples from GeneMark Genomics we can also test for the A2 genotype or to detect the BVD virus.

For BVD testing, what test you're getting and how old your animals are will determine what tissue sampling unit (TSU) you need to use.

BVD test flowchart.png

See Collecting tissue samples for A2 geneotype testing or BVD testing for more information about how to combine the tests.

Additional GeneMark Services

Product

Test Information

Price per sample excl. GST

Product BVD Ag ELISA test

Test Information Animals over 35 days old

Price per sample excl. GST $14.05

Product BVD PCR test

Test Information Animals of any age

Price per sample excl. GST $14.05

Product A2/A2 only Tissue test

Test Information Use a tissue sample to test for the A2/A2 gene

Price per sample excl. GST $26.25

Product A2/A2 Retrospective test

Test Information Existing G3 or Genomic Evaluation profile required

Price per sample excl. GST $13.65

Product A2/A2 Milk test

Test Information Use your herd test samples to test for the A2/A2 protein

Price per sample excl. GST $25.20

* Prices effective 1 June 2024.