Pedigree Precision: Why Parentage Accuracy Matters

By Briley Richard | American Angus Association
When did I turn out the clean-up bull after AI? How do I assign parentage if I don’t know? Do I really need to collect more data, even with genomic tests?

Questions like these often come up during spring time registration and with the help of genomic testing, you can be certain of the parentage of your calf crop. Genomic testing for parentage most often comes in handy when calves are born to cows that were or may have been exposed to multiple sires. Other cases of benefit include when cows calve in close proximity and swap calves. In such cases, verification of the calf’s parentage would require comparison of DNA from other possible parents and search among potential parent-progeny genotypes to find that answer. Additionally, members who use parent verification can use the results as a marketing tool and stand behind the guarantee of pedigree accuracy at the point of sale. In short — parentage precision provides the answers.

Read more below about commonly asked questions pertaining to parentage accuracy.

Why does the Association need verification from the breeder of an animal for parentage correction? Shouldn’t the parentage results of a genomic test be good enough?

  • DNA tests can confirm parentage and exclude incorrect parents, but in a large database like ours that uses a limited number of parentage markers, false positives can occur. Therefore:
  • The Association can only assign parentage to animals with a list of all potential sires and dams provided by the breeder.

I see sale books with breeding listed as artificial insemination (AI) with the female exposed to natural service sires
immediately after AI. Should the Association have rules that natural service sires must be genomically tested, which would include the parentage markers on file for these herd bulls? 

  • The Association does not require registered animals to be genomically tested.
  • Parentage markers are required on file with the Association for all AI sires and all donor dams. This allows for the offspring from that donor dam or AI sire to be verified.
  • If multiple sires are used within a pasture via natural service, sire verification through parentage testing is required for any offspring.

With the science of genomic testing, do I still have to collect weights and measurements? Is it sufficient to use a genomic test to fill in the expected progeny differences (EP
D) boxes? 
  • Successful EPD predictions rely on high-quality data collection and submissions, including accurate pedigree recording.
  • Genomic testing has brought additional accuracy to our genetic predictions but requires continued inputs of vast amounts of data to be effective as genetic selection tools.
  • There are no shortcuts the more quality data submitted to the Association, the more quality information and resulting more accurate EPDs received in return.

learn more about the rules and regulations behind parentage accuracy, read Jerry Cassady’s, director of member services, Membership Tips in the May 2023 Angus Journal
here. As always, if you have any questions, call our customer service representatives at 816-383-5100.
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