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IMPROVEMENTS TO GENETIC TESTING SERVICE

 

Dear [first_name],

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Sheep CRC’s genomic testing program. As you know we have come a long way since our research began in this area in 2007, to now being able to offer a suite of DNA tests to help achieve faster and better targeted genetic gain in ram breeding businesses and commercial flocks.

Like all new innovation coming to market, the evolution of the sheep DNA testing service has had some teething problems over the years. That said, we are continually striving to improve our performance to ensure that sheep breeders can receive timely service and value for money products.

The Sheep CRC is a research and development company and genetic testing has evolved into a commercial service.  This service is best provided by a commercial business, which is why the CRC has established the Australian Innovation Company (AIC).  AIC is now coordinating your genetic tests.  It has a customer-focus and is therefore driven to continuously improve its services.

To provide a clearer picture of how we can improve, the Sheep CRC recently engaged a market research company to survey users of the DNA testing service. As a result of this valuable feedback, we are taking steps to:

  • Significantly reduce the turnaround time between submitting blood cards and receiving results;
  • Reduce the price of tests to provide greater return on investment to our customers;
  • Make the test ordering and purchasing process simpler and easier to use;
  • Extend our after sale service and breeding program support activities.

We know that there have been a number of issues in relation to slow turnaround of results during the December and January period.  Together with Neogen’s US testing laboratory (GeneSeek), we are addressing some aspects of the sampling, analysis and reporting pipeline to ensure that no batches of samples get held up. 

We are also asking for your assistance.  Please download check list (see box below) as this provides a summary of the process and highlights some of the problems that can cause delays.  In particular, could you please ensure that you:

  • Provide proper payment when samples are submitted;
  • Supply accurate and precise animal ID information;
  • Register with Sheep Genetics the details of animals for which 15K Sheep Genotyping tests have been requested.

We understand that you want to base key selection and other production decisions on the test results.  With your assistance, you will start to receive test results much more quickly than has been the case in the past. 

Action has already commenced on developing a new online ordering system, which will be up and running early in 2017. We are also investigating a number of options, which we are confident will address sheep breeders’ concerns about the timeliness of results and value for money – these should also be in place in early 2017.

As you might know, the CRC is undertaking a full sequence analysis of DNA from 350 sheep selected from the Information Nucleus and Resource Flock programs.  This comprehensive analysis of some 3.5 billion base pairs, covering over 5 million SNPs for each animal, is expected to identify new markers for genetic defects and improved accuracy for imputation.  The new knowledge from this research is expected to flow through into genomic products in 2017.

As the new ordering system becomes ready for roll out and improvements in the genomic products become available, we will be in touch again to ensure you have the information you need to smoothly transition to get the most out of the increasingly powerful DNA-based technologies.

Thank you again for your support and assistance.

Regards,

James Rowe

CEO, Sheep CRC


DownloadDownload genotyping check list (151 KB)
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