The combination of scientific and technological advancements and the willingness of Angus producers to test their animals, along with efficient communication tools such as the Internet, have aided the American Angus Association in its efforts to keep the membership informed and abreast of the issues of Arthrogryposis Multiplex, a genetic defect discovered within the breed late in 2008.

“We have tried to be transparent in getting information out to our members and the entire industry in a timely fashion,” says Don Laughlin, association director of member services.  “The fact that we had help from Dr. Jonathan Beever and Dr. David Steffen, experts in veterinary pathology and molecular genetics, has helped us gain significant knowledge about AM more quickly than we expected.”

Since the gene has been identified and testing has become available, five labs are now conducting the tests and electronically submitting those results to the association daily. The results are being posted to the association’s Web site and are being added to the database.  As of March 31, more than 50,000 animals had been tested and reported to the association.  Keep in mind — only the five authorized labs can report to the association; no individual reports will be accepted by the association. 

With so many animals tested, AAA Login users (registered and commercial) can log in and use the Potential Carrier Report on their account to see exactly which animals they should test first.  Animals on the report are labeled several ways:

  • No carrier ancestor — the animal listed has no AM carrier in its pedigree or has an ancestor that has been tested free and, therefore, does not require testing.
  • Undetermined — the animal is commercial and does not have enough information in its pedigree to determine parentage.
  • Potential carrier — has one or more ancestors in its pedigree that are carriers and should be tested to find out definite status. 
  •  Laughlin notes that as of July 1, any animals that are “potential carriers” will carry a notation on their pedigrees, both printed and online, that will state that they are such.

Although a veterinarian is not required to pull samples when submitting tissue, hair or blood to a testing lab, it is vital to submit the correct sample, the correct form and follow the directions carefully.  Each lab has different forms, requires different samples and has different price structures, so breeders should read and follow all instructions carefully. 

All the authorized labs’ contact and testing information can be accessed on the AngusWeb site at www.angus.org. Once the breeder has selected the lab and collected the respective sample to submit, he or she should be sure that sample is correctly identified. Laughlin suggests giving the lab 10-14 days for testing and/or to obtain test results. If the animals’ results are not on the Web site after that time, call the lab to be sure that it received everything it needed.

Source: American Angus Association news release