Genetic Testing

Genomic Testing

Genomic testing of Canadian Jerseys is available through Holstein Canada and through the Zoetis CLARIFIDE program.


Holstein Canada: 1-855-756-8300 (ext 600) or
CLARIFIED Accredited Veterinarian and Zoetis: 1-800-506-6683 or 

 Holstein Canada does not provide microsatellite testing for Jersey animals. For this test go to Quantum Genetix/Genserve below.

Quantum Genetix/Genserve (DNA/Microsatellite - parentage only): click here for microsatellite form
For more information from Quantum/Genserve call (306) 956-2071 or 

To request a copy of your animal's most recent Genomic Evaluation, contact the Registry Desk.

Why Test?

Jersey Canada’s mission is “To develop the Jersey breed in Canada by maintaining the integrity of the herdbook and providing tools to increase profitability.” Maintaining the integrity of the herdbook means ensuring that all dates, numbers, and pedigrees are correct. In some cases, this means that a DNA test is necessary, particularly when it comes to verifying the sire and dam of an animal (often referred to as “parentage testing”).

Jersey Canada requires parentage tests in these situations:

• Registering a bull: Jersey Canada bylaws state that every male registered in the Canadian herdbook must have its parentage confirmed at the time of registration. The owner pays for parentage testing when registering a bull.

• Embryo donors: any Jersey cow that is flushed must have a DNA test completed before any calves resulting from embryos can be registered. The owner of the donor cow pays for the test.

• Registering an over-aged Jersey: any Jersey that is 18 months or older when they are registered must have a parentage test. The owner pays for testing over-aged animals.

• A calf born early or late: calves born more than 15 days too soon, or 15 days too late (considering the breeding date) may require a parentage test.  Jersey Canada pays for the testing of calves born really early or really late.

• Random spot test: Jersey Canada randomly selects one in 300 AI or natural service calves, and 1 in 25 ET calves for a parentage test. These random tests are called “spot tests”. Jersey Canada pays for spot tests.

• Any time the owner isn’t 100% sure of the calf’s sire or dam: sometimes two cows calve at the same time, or a cow is bred to two different bulls, or a heifer is implanted with an embryo and then later rebred, or heifers are exposed to a bull before being confirmed pregnant. In these and similar situations where there is some chance that the expected mating may not be correct, Jersey Canada requires a parentage test of the calf. The owner pays for the test in this type of situation.

Genomic testing is a great tool to help you identify the unprofitable females much sooner. There is no minimum age for testing, so the earlier you cull the heifers that aren’t going to move your herd forward, the more rearing costs you save. This is the best way to make genomic testing work for you. Read more …

Collecting Hair Samples

Before starting you will need:
• A submission form to record animal information of samples collected
• A paper envelope for each sample to be collected
• Marker or pen
• Scissors to cut off excess/dirty hair
• A clean comb or brush
• Tape

What kind of test?

SNP Testing: use the Genotype Request Form available from Holstein Canada or obtain a ‘hair collection kit’ from a Clarified Accredited Veterinarian (who will also submit your sample for you).
Holstein Canada’s Genotype Request Form:
Phone: 1-855-756-8300 (ext 600)  ~   Email:
Lab: Holstein Canada, c/o Genomic Testing, P.O. Box 610, Brantford, ON, N3T 5R4

CLARIFIED Accredited Veterinarian and Zoetis:
Phone: 1-800-506-6683   ~  Email: 

Microsatellite DNA Testing: obtain the ‘GS Cattle Submission Form’ from Jersey Canada or Quantum Genetix.
Jersey Canada
Phone: (519) 821-1020 (ext 22)   ~   Email:

Quantum Genetix (Q-Link Services)
Phone: (306) 956-2071 or (306) 956-2075   ~   Email:
Lab: Quantum Genetix, 101-110 Research Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 3R3


1. Clean the tail switch to remove any foreign material. Comb or brush the tail to remove any dead hair. If needed, wash, clean and rinse with water. Wait for the tail to be completely dry. The sample must be free of urine or manure. Dirty samples will not be processed. Contamination will make the sample unfit for testing.
2. Select 5-10 tail hairs near the base of the tail switch and quickly pull hairs upward (against the grain of the roots). Visually inspect to ensure that hooked or bulbous roots are attached. Repeat until 20-30 hairs with roots have been pulled.
3. Trim the ends opposite the roots to remove dirty, wet or excess hair. (Note: feces and urine in the hair can degrade the sample and make it unfit for DNA testing)
4. Place the hair sample in a paper envelope. Use a separate envelope for each animals sample.
5. Clearly label the envelope with the unique identity of the animal. Record the animal information on the submission form. The animals ID on the envelope must correspond to the animals ID on the submission form.
6. To collect a sample from another animal, clean hands or put on a clean pair of surgical gloves and repeat the above steps.
7. Place the envelope(s) along with the submission forms into a larger envelope and mail or express post the package to the appropriate lab. 

SNP testing and Parentage Verification

Many Jersey owners are quickly learning what a great management tool SNP genomic testing (GenoTest) is. Not only does it allow you to select the best replacement heifers for your herd-it can also confirm the parentage of animals. SNP genomic testing provides a distinct advantage over traditional microsatellite DNA testing for parentage verification-potential as sires do not have to be suggested. This difference arises between the two tests because microsatellite DNA confirms parentage by matching microsatellite sites on the DNA of the animal being tested and on the DNA of the suggested sire while SNP testing eliminates potential sires based the presence of particular SNP's and the likelihood that various sires could have contributed these portions of DNA.  

While it is true that most of the time Jersey owners are sure of whom the sire is, mix ups do happen. Sometimes the wrong straw is grabbed during insemination. Sometimes a cow is purchased in calf and no breeding information is supplied. Whatever the reason for parentage verification, SNP testing is a great option. If you would like to conduct parentage verification through SNP testing it is important to register the calf to be tested first.  Holstein Canada and CDN are unable to correctly label samples without a registration number. If you are uncertain of the sire, use a ‘dummy’ registration number during registration, such as JECANM99999999. This way we will know something is different and can register the calf with an unknown sire after confirming the situation with you. Eventually results confirming parentage will be available from CDN and we can adjust the sire of the calf as necessary and send out the registration paper and a certificate confirming parentage. Registration fees will be charged before testing occurs. Holstein Canada will send an invoice for the GenoTest.  After results are received, another SNP administration fee will be applied to your Jersey Canada account to cover the additional costs, including time, postage and updates to the database. This fee is only charged when parentage verification is necessary - not for every animal that SNP testing is conducted on.  

If one of your animals has been selected for a spot test, a microsatellite DNA kit will still be sent out, but you also have the option of sending a hair sample to Holstein Canada for SNP testing. If you would like to do this, simply let us know, pay the invoice and send us a copy of the invoice. We’ll add a credit to your Jersey Canada account in the amount of the test which can be used for future registrations, transfers, etc.  

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