PFIZER Animal Genetics has developed an exciting new break through Hornpoll DNA test that has the potential to revolutionise the progression towards polled animals in livestock breeding.
This logical progression has been held back significantly in the past due to the unpredictability of results when the actual poll status of breeding stock is unknown.
However, the new Hornpoll DNA test is about to eliminate the unpredictability in results when attempting to breed polled animals.
This will be useful for producers in their future breeding decision making when one of the selection parameters is to reduce the frequency of horned animals in their flocks.Horns present handling difficulties and safety issues as well as the important economic impediment of bruising and carcase damage caused by horned animals on other animals in the flock or herd during handling and transport.
The move towards polled animals has been slowed by the need to introduce yet another selection point, therefore reducing the number of animals that pass the selection criteria, or out-crossing becomes necessary to achieve quicker polling results.
This in turn can lead to a reduction of standards in the other desirable selection traits.
The development of horns in sheep is controlled by of a number of genetic factors, including the breed and the sex of an animal.
An example of this is that some sheep breeds have horns on both rams and ewes, while with other breeds horns are only observed on the males.