Parentage verification test development

We are happy to announce that we have gotten funding to develop a parentage verification test for lovebirds! We will be testing just under 1000 birds from various species, inbreeding levels and families. If you are able to help us with samples please contact us at

Taking part in the study doesn’t cost anything. We only require a few drops of blood from your birds on a blood card. The blood card and all other necessities will be sent to you.

Please note that we can only accept birds that are in families – e.g. parents and one or more chick, siblings, uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews, grandparents and grand-chicks etc.

This will help us to decide which markers that we have identified are the most powerful to exclude non-parent individuals. We hope to develop a commercial parentage verification test soon.

What is happening in September?

For us here in the Southern hemisphere spring has sprung and everything is green and in full bloom again! I think the change of season has brought new life to the study and I’m happy to let you know that I’ve been making good progress on the SNP selection and filtering.

I have not yet compiled the final set of SNPs to be included in the parentage verification panel, but I’ve got lots of SNPs to work from.

The father has around 1.4million and the mother 1.9million SNPs to work with. I’m currently busy to filter out the ones that aren’t of good quality and will then use statistical formulas to get them down to about 500 SNPs per bird. These need to be the same 500 that we can include them in the final test panel and then test the panel in a broad population of birds of different family backgrounds and levels of inbreeding.

It will be very interesting to see how many markers we need to include in the end. There are some scientific articles that say at least 200-500 markers, other say around 120 and one study done earlier this year say you can include as little as 70 markers. The exact number will only be confirmed once we see how powerful each marker is to exclude an individual that is not the biological parent of an offspring.


What is happening in July 2016?

During July we hope to do the following:

1. Annotate the genome – this means to assign names and symbols to all the genes and markers in the genome
2. Filter the SNPs – from the millions of SNP markers in the genome we need to filter them down to about 150 markers only