top of page

iCompete issues have been resolved, and accounts are now  accessible. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you are having a great start to your 2023 year. This is a great time to be in the livestock industry, with strong prices being reflected in the past couple of years. While prices on inputs have risen, stock prices remain strong across the country for the most part.

In December, the ABGA Board of Directors unanimously approved an investment in moving members forward. This investment consists of moving our DNA program to a more advanced technology than we are currently using. This technology is not new, more than 38 breed associations throughout multiple species are currently using this technology. The company utilizing this exciting technology is Neogen. Neogen is currently the largest genomics company in the world. They have multiple offices throughout the United States. Their body of scientists are on the cutting edge of genomics research to further each species they work with and their respected advancement.

The main questions: Why should we switch? Why do we care about DNA and what is it about?

Livestock breeders have always bred animals based on appearance (the phenotype) with consideration given to pedigrees. Yet there are also the characteristics we cannot see in an animal but are traits that are there anyways (the genotype). Research and results show that breeding only what we can see still results in many unexpected outcomes because of the traits we cannot see. Genomics takes this a step further. It allows mating to be selected with the animal’s genome (both what we see and what we do not) also in mind.

Genomics requires a DNA sample taken from the animal itself (blood, follicle, or tissue). This sample is sent to the lab for the DNA to be extracted from that sample. Once completed, markers specifically identified by genomics companies are associated with the individual animal’s profile. These markers are attached to specific locations within the genome.

Why should we switch to Neogen?

We are currently using the University of California at Davis to perform our DNA platform services. They utilize what is known as microsatellite technology. This technology provides benefits like

parentage along with limited markers. It is somewhat outdated in its capabilities and unfortunately has no current way of evolving to perform more advanced services. The SNP technology (Single

Nucleotide Polymorphisms, called “snip”) can selectively access a wider range of the genomic profile than microsatellite technology can. An example is parentage, Microsatellite compares 12-17

markers, SNIP compares a minimum of 78. What does this mean in actual practice? Consistently higher accuracy.

Why do we care?

In livestock, scientists have identified specific markers located within the animal’s genome and correlated it to a specified trait. Some of these traits are birthweight, weaning weight, disease resistance (some specific diseases), staple length (sheep), production traits (milking ability, calving ease, fertility). These markers have not yet been specifically identified in goats. However, the global increase of goat and goat products as a valuable commodity, have scientists investigating this thoroughly.

We will maintain our parentage with the new DNA system; however we will also be granted thousands more markers as well. Better yet, they are included at no additional cost for the test. The potential is endless; SNP technology is evolving to include more and more markers every year.

The ability to market animals to producers with genomic information, can provide a tremendous amount of value for you. It is my point of view that in using genomics, we can use the breed standards as leverage. We can take animals that may not qualify for the show ring or be prime breeding type due to breed faults or disqualifications (blue eyes, wry tail, pigmentation, teeth eruption, split testicles), and utilize the value of other important traits when marketed to commercial producers whose interest is market stock. Boer sires identified with genetic technology to contain fast growth, heavier weaning weights, lower birth weights will allow more capture of income when marketed to a sector whose values are less focused on the traits our standard adheres to.

ABGA Board Suggestions

Below are some suggestions we are looking over to assist the membership as we transition:

  1. Grandfather system – Animals that have been previously tested with UC Davis will be grandfathered and honored by ABGA as accurate.

  2. Mandatory requirements – I do not foresee any mandatory requirements during the introductory period or transition period for the membership. Things to consider that will more than likely become practice: Mandatory DNA on file for bucks who have semen collected that are alive. Donor females (Embryo Collection, IVF) will have to have DNA on file as well. Kids produced from these donor females will be required to DNA back to these females.

  3. Frozen Semen - Frozen semen on dead sires will be grandfathered in.

  4. Frozen Embryos – Frozen embryos produced from Sire and Dam that no longer are alive will be grandfathered in. Resulting offspring will be required to have DNA submitted on file.

These are merely suggested topics for the board to discuss at length about the program going forward.

We hope the takeaway from this is that by moving to this DNA technology it will increase value for you as owners and breeders. Our goal at ABGA is provide benefits to the membership in any way possible. Your success is our number one goal.


David Carwell – Region 6 Director, DNA Committee Chair

The Future of Our DNA Program

In December, the ABGA Board of Directors unanimously approved an investment towards moving our DNA program to a more advanced technology.

bottom of page