AgResearch scientists are developing a new parentage and
breed assignment test for deer using SNP technology.
A SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) acts as a marker to
find differences in DNA sequence between animals.
Genomics scientist Dr Suzanne Rowe, of Invermay, said during
the past three years AgResearch scientists had been working
with the University of Edinburgh and American genetics
company Illumina to produce a 50,000-SNP chip for the deer
''AgResearch did most of the genomics work,'' Dr Rowe said.
Using next-generation sequencing technology, a new test is
now under development that will use a subset of these markers
to create a more affordable and accurate test for parentage
and breed in the New Zealand population.
This will enable the estimation of more accurate breeding
values and the ability to trace products such as venison
throughout the supply chain back to individual New Zealand
Fawns will have tissue or hair samples taken at birth and
their DNA compared with the information on the chip.
Developed with the deer industry's Venison Systems Supply
programme, the research included genotyping many sub-species
including red, Wapiti, Chinese and fallow deer to identify
New Zealand breed standards.
Dr Rowe said the chip would enable breeders to identify an
animal's parentage with a high level of accuracy.
In addition, breeders could, by using the SNP chip, identify
particular animals which had desirable economic traits such
as meat quality and disease resistance.
She said the test would be available for preliminary testing
in the next couple of months.
''It could be up to two years before it is released
commercially,'' she said.