How Do You Check A Bird’s DNA? (Avian Testing Guide)

Avian DNA testing is quite an affordable way to give the best care to your pet bird.

It is important as it can help to identify the species and sex of a bird, which is important for conservation efforts. Also, it can help to determine the genetic health of a population of birds, and this information can be used to make decisions about breeding and management. Finally, avian DNA testing can also be used to study the evolutionary history of birds, and this information can be used to better understand the diversity of life on Earth.

What is DNA?

DNA is the abbreviation for Deoxyribo-Nucleic-Acid. It is a lengthy, complicated molecule that carries information in the form of a chemical code and directs the creation of the body and cells.

What is the typical testing turnaround time?

It will take 1 to 2 business days.

What method should I use to mail my samples?

Regular mail is OK, however, if you have a limited amount of time, please send them by overnight mail. USPS does not guarantee priority mail. Vials of blood should be sent in a padded envelope or box. Please ship eggshells in a box to avoid additional breaking.

How much blood is required for DNA testing?

In most cases, 20-50ul of blood is adequate for all of our DNA-based assays.

Can blood cards be used to screen for diseases?

Yes, however blood collection containers are preferred over blood cards for illness testing. Because disease testing is very sensitive, environmental contamination on the blood cards may result in false positives.

Which is more dependable, blood testing or feather testing?

DNA stays the same no matter where it is extracted. Both tests are equally reliable.

How many feathers are required for the test?

We advise shipping at least five (5).

Is it important to use freshly plucked feathers for precise results?

Although DNA takes a long time to degrade, testing is more likely to be effective if feathers are newly plucked.

Is it possible to utilize molted feathers?

It does not advocate sending molted feathers since they contain substantially less useable DNA and we want to ensure that the feather is from the bird being tested.

Will sexing feathers encourage feather picking?

No. Feather picking is a neurotic condition that does not begin with plucking a few chest feathers off your bird.

Will the feathers regrow?

Feathers usually regrow in 4 to 6 weeks.

What kinds of testing may be carried out using feathers?

We only provide DNA sexing and Bornavirus testing with feather samples.

Is there a minimum age for a bird?

Because DNA stays the same from birth to death in all animals, there is no age range for the most reliable findings.

What is DNA Fingerprinting?

DNA Fingerprinting can be used to produce DNA profiles that determine the following:

  • Parentage Verification
  • Estimation of Relatedness

For more than a decade, DNA fingerprinting has been used to determine bird population-relatedness. Behaviorists have widely exploited it to show that multiple paternity is significantly more prevalent in “monogamous” birds than previously thought.

Since the discovery of DNA profiling for specific birds of prey, proving the heredity and origin of birds has been simpler and faster. Sibling ties and maternity/paternity may be established or refuted by examining blood samples from the birds in issue and comparing shared bands or genetic markers.

You may check whether there is a link between the samples by studying the gel picture. Ignore the columns on the far left, middle, and far-right; these are DNA ladders. So, the left-hand bandings represent mother and father, while the right-hand bandings represent offspring? Do they share any of their parents’ DNA? Yes, offspring can only inherit DNA from their parents. 50% from the father and 50% from the mother The gel definitely implies a link; in fact, the parents were determined to be connected!

avian DNA ‘fingerprinting’

This gel image is an excellent illustration of DNA ‘fingerprinting.’ Lanes 4, 7, and 0 are just DNA markers and should be disregarded. Lanes 5 and 6 are the parents of the abducted birds on Lanes 8 and 9. The species examined were quite uncommon. If you look closely at the image, you will see that the DNA bands of the children match those of the parents. Computer analysis is used at Avian Biotech to select the common DNA bands.

When the owner finished this operation, he realized that the parent birds were really brother and sister.

What diseases can be detected through avian genetic testing?

In many situations, both PCR (direct) disease testing and ‘ELISA’ testing for antibodies linked with the ailment are available. Antibody testing may assist determine if a bird has been exposed to a certain infectious illness and the amount of natural immunity the bird has developed as a result.

Common infections and diseases that can be tested include:

  • Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease (PBFD)
  • Chlamydia
  • Pacheco’s virus/Avian Herpes
  • Polyoma
  • Aspergillosis
  • Candida
  • E.Coli
  • Giardia
  • Salmonella
  • Avian Borna Virus

How to perform DNA sex testing for birds?

DNA sexing from blood, feathers, or eggshells is the safest approach to identifying your bird’s sex at any age. Modern state-of-the-art procedures are employed to achieve an accuracy rate better than 99.99%.

DNA sexing has become the technique of choice for determining the sex of monomorphic birds (males and females having no external differences). Blood, feather, and eggshell samples may all be used for DNA sexing.

Avian DNA Sexing

DNA Sexing from blood or feather is the safest approach to identifying your bird’s sex at any age. Modern state-of-the-art procedures are employed to achieve an accuracy rate of better than 99.9%. Your sample’s extracted DNA is deposited into a ‘gel,’ and a tiny electrical current drags the DNA across the gel, showing particular chromosomes. Males have ZZ chromosomes, whereas females have ZW chromosomes.

How to use Blood Cards for avian DNA testing?

Avian DNA testing companies use a card blood collecting device to sex DNA. The tiny card may be used to securely collect blood samples. There will be no dirty capillary tips, collecting tubes, or labels. Simply take the card from the plastic bag and fill out the card’s details. Then, using a drop or two of blood from your bird, fill the circle on the card. Allow the card to dry before mailing the sample.

How to use Feather samples for avian DNA testing?

Companies can now extract the DNA needed to detect sex from a few plucked feathers thanks to recent improvements in DNA technology. Blood and feather samples are both equally dependable and provide the same degree of diagnostic accuracy. DNA is DNA regardless of where it is collected. Your choice will determine the approach you use.

As long as the feathers are freshly plucked, companies may use them to perform DNA testing. Please do not send any blood or down feathers. Simply drop the whole feather – ideally three or four from the breast – into the provided sealable plastic bags and affix the identifying number sticker on the exterior. Please keep in mind that just one bird per bag. Feathers may be returned through mail usually, please double-check with your DNA testing company.

How do you get a blood sample for avian DNA testing?

Avian Blood samples are often obtained from the tip of a toe; it is advised that one person capture the bird while another collects the blood sample.

  • Restrain the bird (wrap a towel over it) and brush off any evident filth before clipping the toenail (beginning at the tip) until a drop of blood forms (you may have to let the bird relax).
  • Holding the tip of the glass capillary tube (from the Blue container) against the clipped toenail, the blood will pull into the tip.
  • Drop the capillary tube (which now contains the blood) into the collecting tube’s solution, replace the screw cap, and shake to distribute the blood from the capillary into the solution.
  • Wrap the peel-off identification number sticker over each tube, making sure the label number is visible; write this number on the test order form under the label No.
  • The bleeding from the toenail should cease in a few minutes, although blood coagulation may be administered to hasten the process. Cornflour is a decent substitute. Please keep in mind that any blood drawn from a bird should be done via your local vet.
  • Return blood samples in a padded envelope to the testing company.
  • If you are using blood cards: Place a blood droplet in the center of the card and allow it to dry before placing it back into the plastic bag. Letter envelopes may be used to return cards.

***Important: If more than one sample is being obtained, ensure that proper hygiene is maintained by washing hands and nail clippers between each bird to minimize cross-contamination of birds and samples.

In brief: Which kit do I need?

  • Sex Testing: Can be done using either a blood or feather sample. Either 1 x Blood card per bird, or 1 x feather kit per bird.
  • PBFD Testing: Requires a blood sample for testing. 1 x Blood tube per bird.
  • Chlamydia Testing: Requires a blood sample, and a cloacal/throat swab. 1 x Blood tube + 1 x Swab, per bird.
  • Pacheco Testing: Both a blood sample and a cloacal swab. 1 x Blood tube + 1 x swab, per bird.
  • Polyoma Testing: Both a blood sample and a cloacal swab. 1 x Blood tube + 1 x swab, per bird.

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