Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences


Parentage identification within cattle herds is an important aspect of record keeping. It is essential for accurate registration within a purebred association and decision making for production purposes, such as replacement heifer and sire selection. Methods used to identify parentage have evolved from utilizing blood protein antigens, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and microsatellites to the current technology of analyzing DNA profiles for differing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In this preliminary study we analyzed genotype data from 1,066 samples obtained from various cattle breeds. These breeds included Holstein, Angus, Hereford, Irish Black, Jersey, Red Angus, Limousine, Charolais, Brown Swiss and Maine-Anjou. Samples were analyzed using parentage calling software (Cervus 3.0 and SireMatch 2.0) utilizing the 88 SNP parentage-testing panel from Fluidigm®. Of the 1,066 offspring samples submitted, 789 were verified by DNA identification to match herd records submitted by producers, indicating that 277 herd records were incorrect. Beyond parentage identification, future efforts employing SNP technology will include creating reduced SNP panels to determine the heritability of qualitative traits desirable to the beef cattle industry, such as marbling and tenderness.



Faculty Mentor

Lee F. Rickords