Occasionally there are situations that require us to update the DNA markers for the dam and/or sire of an alpaca that is being registered. If AOA has access to the original samples, we would be able to reprocess them without needing new blood to be drawn. Sometimes, however, AOA does need a brand new DNA sample from you.
AOA stores DNA samples from your alpacas dating back to about 2003. In DNA cases prior to 2003, we may not have access to the original sample.
We want to do our best to avoid situations where a cria cannot be registered, especially in cases where the dam/sire has died. If AOA needed to add DNA markers to the alpaca’s file in order to register the offspring, and if we don’t have access to a viable sample, then the registration wouldn’t be able to continue. These cases are rare, but you can take a few easy steps to protect yourself and ensure the accuracy of both your herd and the AOA database.
To make things easier on the AOA membership and to make sure that all eligible offspring can be registered, AOA is making some simple recommendations when it comes to alpacas last tested prior to 2003 and for alpacas that have recently died:
- Better safe than sorry. When an alpaca dies or is put down, have the vet take a blood draw, just in case. You never know when that sample could help register an offspring (or a surprise offspring!). An extra sample could help you resolve cases of mistaken identity too.
- If possible, get a blood sample from the deceased alpaca and store it on 2–3 DNA blood cards. If AOA ever needs updated DNA from that alpaca to qualify an offspring, you are able to submit one of those cards.
- Your vet might be able to put the sample in a vial with an anti-coagulant that can be stored in a refrigerated space. This way, you would have plenty of blood available, should additional testing ever be required. If so, be sure to agitate the vial well before spotting the DNA blood card.
- Check your alpacas’ DNA markers online by logging into the member area to see if new samples should be taken. Any alpaca registered before 2005 will have ten or fewer DNA marker pairs. In most cases, this is enough to register any offspring, but it may come up that we need more markers or better data from another blood sample.
- When in doubt, contact the office. The AOA staff will be glad to help you with your questions and to make sure that we have everything we need for your herd.