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Faster sheep DNA testing with new Australian GeneSeek lab

Monday 4th of September 2017

Sheep breeders using DNA testing to improve their genetic selections can look forward to faster turnaround times for test results thanks to Neogen Corporation’s decision to establish a genomic testing laboratory within Australia.

GeneSeek Australasia, a wholly owned subsidiary of United States-based parent company Neogen, has acquired the assets of the Animal Genetics Laboratory (AGL), based at the Gatton campus of the University of Queensland (UQ). It is Neogen’s fourth animal genomics laboratory, joining locations in the US, Scotland, and Brazil.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) has led the development of DNA testing within the Australian sheep industry and has worked in collaboration with Neogen’s GeneSeek laboratories since the start of the Information Nucleus program in 2007.

“GeneSeek has always provided competitive pricing and excellent quality control but until now all tests had to be shipped to the US for processing,” Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said.

“While the range of DNA test products we have developed has proven to be immensely valuable to sheep breeders, the turnaround time from taking blood samples to receiving results has been the biggest single factor limiting wider uptake of genomic technologies within the Australian sheep industry.

“Today’s announcement is a major development which will help consolidate the use of DNA technologies and support accelerated genetic improvement in our flocks.”

Prof. Rowe said the new lab would result in faster and more consistent turnaround time.  Sending samples to the US has involved variable turnaround time due to couriers, occasional US customs delays and some repeat analyses. Having Australian based lab will resolve most of these problems.

Dr Jason Lilly, Neogen’s vice president of corporate development and Director of GeneSeek AustralAsia, said that as the Neogen’s business in Australia had grown, the company had recognized the importance of improving its presence in the local market and its service to strategic partners such as the Sheep CRC.

“Combining AGL’s complementary expertise and local support with GeneSeek’s animal genomic capabilities, will provide Australian sheep producers with the utmost in local service, turnaround time, and technical support.”

The lab will feature the latest equipment and will be compatible with the recent developments in the parentage and 15k multi-trait genotyping tests for the Australian sheep industry.

“This will mean that breeders will be able to plan their genotyping around the best possible combination of parentage and multi-trait genotyping testing to minimise the costs of double testing and maximise the information from multi-trait genomic predictions,” Prof. Rowe said.

“GeneSeek has always provided excellent technical support in the design and development of the Sheep CRC’s DNA testing systems and being based in Australia is likely to further enhance what has been a very productive working relationship.”


Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666.


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