How to submit DNA tests

How to Submit DNA tests

Shorthorn Beef offers a wide selection of DNA services, designed to assist members to make the most informed breeding and management decisions possible. Whether you are a seedstock or commercial cattle breeder, there is a testing level that works for you.


DNA Samples include Tissue Sampling Units (TSU’s), which is the preferred method. TSU kits and applicators can be ordered through Shorthorn Beef or directly from Allflex or Neogen.

Hair samples are the other common samples tested for DNA. Hair sample kits can also be ordered through Shorthorn Beef or from Neogen Australasia. Breeders need to be aware that Neogen have a $3 per sample surcharge for tail hair samples.

Semen straws and blood cards can also be processed, however please ensure that the semen straw is both full and unused. There is also a surcharge for these sampling methods.

Once breeders have taken samples for DNA testing, they must complete the Neogen Cattle Genotyping Application Form.


Breeders need to add the animals Visual Tag (registration number), ICAR/Registration number & select the type of testing from the drop-down list that they require.

If an animal requires more than one test, breeders will need to fill in a separate line for each test.

When parent verification testing is required, breeders can either add the sire and/or dam to be tested against on the Application Form tab. If there are more than one sire and/or dam to be tested against, breeders can add multiple sires and/or dams in the Optional – List of Sires and/or Optional – List of Dams tabs.

Importantly, animals to be tested MUST be at least recorded prior to testing. Unrecorded or Unregistered animals WILL NOT be DNA tested through Shorthorn Beef. Animals may be recorded without a pedigree if it is unknown.

Once completed, a copy of the form must be sent to Shorthorn Beef directly. This must be received by Shorthorn Beef, prior to the samples arriving at Neogen.

Samples can be posted with a printed copy of the Application Form directly to;

NEOGEN Australasia
14 Hume Drive
QLD 4304

It is recommended to use registered or express post that allows samples to be tracked should any issues occur in the post.

Once DNA testing is completed, results will be loaded to the Shorthorn Beef website for you. DNA Certificates and any parentage results will be sent to you directly by Shorthorn Beef.


There are many reasons why parentage results may differ from the recorded pedigree for the tested animal.

If the nominated sire and/or dam listed do not qualify as the most likely parent/s for the nominated animal, Shorthorn Beef will contact you and assist you to resolve the issue. This usually involves nominating every possible sire and/or dam (provided they have a SNP profile on record at Shorthorn Beef) for the particular animal and running a new parentage test. New parentage tests usually takes approximately 3-5 working days however may be longer at peak times.

For those that are DNA testing sale animals, it is advised to complete all testing well prior to cataloguing to avoid any undue stress, should parentage issues arise.


Microsatellite (MiP) parentage testing is no longer available from 1st January 2021.

Members are advised to check the Shorthorn Beef website to see if any of their sires and/or dams have the old MiP type profiles recorded. If that is the case, they will no longer be able to be used to resolve any parentage issues that may arise, which may affect the registration status of valuable progeny.

Members are strongly encouraged to consider having a SNP based panel (such as a Seeksire) recorded for the relevant sires and/or dams.

TSU Sample Kits

TSU sample kits offer the best solution for collecting and submitting DNA samples. Samples can be collected with a minimum of animal restraint and a minimum of animal discomfort.

TSU kits collect a small sample from the ear which is automatically sealed in a small vial and in a specialised preservative. This means that there is no risk of contamination and reduces the possibility of retesting being required. Tissue samples contain a large quantity of high quality DNA yielding excellent lab results.

The TSU vial is fully sealed in the applicator with both a 2D barcode and an ID panel. The TSU sample can be paired to matching NLIS and management tags, maintaining the maximum integrity for animal identification and sampling records.

TSU samples can not be stored for later use, should further DNA testing be required, so there is a fee for extracting full DNA from each sample.

TSU Kits and applicators can be ordered from Allflex by Freecall 1300 138 247. Or download the Allflex TSU brochure here TSU Brochure 2017.

Collecting Tail Follicles

Tail hair follicle sample kits have a cardboard back and a clear, sticky plastic front.

The tail hair follicles (ie the hair roots) are the required section of the hair samples for testing. Usually the follicles are seen as the white tips at the end of the hair samples. Generally, about 20 follicles is sufficient for a sample. Please ensure, where possible, that samples are taken from the brush of the tail.

Tail hair samples should be cleaned and dried before submission, as mould may develop in transit if the samples are still wet and dirty.

Simply peel back the sticky clear section of the sample kit and place the follicles on the cardboard and then lay the sticky plastic back over. Trim the other end of the hair sample at this point.

Record the animals ident on the sample card and post the samples back to the Shorthorn Beef Office. It takes between 4 to 6 weeks for DNA to be tested and the results will be mailed back to you directly.

Semen Straw Samples

Sending a semen straw is another easy way of collecting DNA on sires.

Simply thaw a straw of semen, wrap it up in tissue paper or similar, and post it to the Shorthorn Beef Office, with the animal ident clearly marked for each straw.

There are some limitations regarding submitting DNA samples by semen straw. Firstly, please make sure the straw is thawed before you post it as the sample may develop mould in the post otherwise. Semen samples can not be stored for use later if further DNA tests are required, so if the best way is to send a semen sample, there is a fee for extraction of full DNA from the sample for storage. Ideally, semen straws should be protected in the post by either taping them between two sheets of cardboard, wrapping them in tissue paper or simply removing the insert from a cheap biro and replacing it with the semen straw.

If progeny registrations are rejected because the Sire was not DNA profiled, simply have the Sire profiled and inform the Shorthorn Beef Office once you obtain your DNA profile. Unless the Office is informed of the Sires DNA profile status, they will not be able to proceed with registrations.

It is also recommended that DNA samples are taken from all Sires prior to joining to avoid any concerns later on.