Sample Collection is a critical part of the DNA testing process

DNA image 1ADGA members may find the need for DNA services at some time during the ownership of their animals, either for their own information,as part of ADGA’s random sampling programs or for Alpha S-1 Casein or G6S testing.   ADGA’s DNA contract laboratory, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, prefers hair bulb samples although they accept other types of samples as well.

Correctly stored samples are stable for several years and can be sent for analysis as required.  We strongly recommend that you consider sampling and storing for your future use.  Just store in an envelope in a dry/dark environment such as a file cabinet.

How to sample

  • Sampling works well from the following sites: back of the hind leg, above the front kneepad, the guard hairs at the withers, or the top of the rump
  • Ensure the sample area is clean, remove any loose hair or dirt from the area you are sampling
  • Pull the hairs out firmly in a smooth motion (against the direction of growth), the hair follicle must be present, live and intact
  • The DNA is contained in the root bulb – it is important that this part of the hair remain intact.Inspect for the root bulb.  This may be particularly important with young animals, as their hair tends to be finer and more brittle.
  • Do not cut the hair from the rump, dead or broken hairs (flattened) are not suitable
  • Avoid sampling an area where shedding is occurring
  • Place the hair in a regular sized (4”x9”) envelope and label with the provided ADGA information label

Avoid contamination

  • Wipe any stray hairs from your hands before you sample each animal
  • It is extremely important to keep hair samples dry upon collection and shipment. DNA within hair can degrade very rapidly if left in harsh condition such as rain or moisture.
  • In order to avoid cross-contamination, consider wearing clean latex gloves and use clean equipment on every sample.
  • Furthermore, never place more than one sample within the same envelope.
  • Do not sample a second animal until all paperwork for the sample from the first animal has been completed.

How much to sample

The sample collected needs to contain 20-40 hair bulbs.   Look closely at the ends.  Use a magnifying glass, if necessary to see the roots. If at least half of the hairs have roots, you are in good shape.

What information is required?

  • Use the ADGA provided submission forms and individual labels (mailed to you). If one is not available, correctly record the animal information on the sample envelope.  Ensure essential animal information is provided, including: Tattoo, Date of birth (if known), Sex, ADGA assigned DNA Case ID
  • Complete a sample submission form for each animal
  • Sign the certificate of identification on each copy of the supplied form where indicated.
  • Return one copy of the form to ADGA, send one copy of the form with the samples to the laboratory and keep one copy for your records.
  • If you prefer someone other than yourself take the sample, have the collector place the sample in the envelope, seal, and sign across the seal.
  • For submission forms, please use the Order Form or contact ADGA at

Storage and transport

  • Store the samples dry at room temperature, away from sunlight.
  • It is extremely important to keep hair samples dry upon collection and shipment. DNA within hair can degrade very rapidly if left in harsh condition such as rain or moisture.
  • Do not store in plastic bags because condensation can occur.
  • Ship at room temperature in envelopes.
  • The laboratory receives DNA-typing samples throughout the year except regularly observed holidays.

Other Sample Types

  • Semen samples: Semen samples to not have to be sent refrigerated but should be mailed promptly after removing from the tank by placing in a ziploc type bag and using a padded envelope. Spent straws cannot be used.
  • Blood samples:  Please call if hair or semen samples cannot be provided.  The lab prefers hair but if blood is used, you will need to supply your own collection tubes.
  • All other samples: Sample types other than those listed above must be by special arrangement.


ADGA uses Veterinary Genetics Laboratory for its DNA typing contract work. Additional information can be found at



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