If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m back today with more CSI-style intel. Er, Cattle Sampling Information that is.

There are some DNA testing fundamentals that are consistent with all types of testing. Labeling each collection card for animal ID and keeping a clean work area are general. If our tips for blood collection aren’t universal enough for your operation, here are a few reminders specific to hair collection for DNA purposes.

Location, location, location
As tempting and accessible as the tail head is, DNA samples really should come from the tail switch. Pull up and away from the tail for best results.

Scissors won’t cut it
Running isn’t the only activity you should leave your scissors at home for. In hair sampling, the only part of the hair that is actually sampled is the root ball on the very end of the hair follicle. Samples must be pulled out by the root. Whatever you do, don’t collect hair clippings.

Go for quality AND quantity
Make sure you have enough hairs with in-tact root bulbs on the card. Twenty hairs is usually a good magic number to shoot for.

Cleanliness still matters
When it comes to manure, the same rules apply as blood collection. Tail switch hairs should be free from mud and feces to ensure that the tests are accurate.

Don’t leave loose ends
The root bulb end of the hair should be placed in between the films on the collection card. That is where the lab takes samples. Use the scissors that we outlawed for collection and put them to good use in trimming excess hair so that there is nothing hanging off the edge of the card.

For more step by step directions on hair collection, check out this flyer.

With all these tips on DNA sampling, I’m curious how you plan to implement today’s technology. Let us know how you use information from DNA testing to add more black ink to your bottom line!

– Kara