Parentage verification test for Lovebirds progress

We are happy to announce that the project is moving along swiftly and we are making great progress! It is very difficult to say exactly when the commercial parentage verification test will be available, but we are hoping to have all laboratory and data analyses finished by the end of 2018.


We have received samples from over 1000 lovebirds from all across the world and we would like to thank each and every breeder who participated in this study from the bottom of our hearts! We know it took time and effort to take the samples and appreciate it greatly.


The DNA has been extracted for each bird and we are happy to report that these samples are now ready to be analyzed at the 500 SNP markers that we have selected. These analyses should be completed by the end of July 2018. Once we have that data, we will sift through each and every SNP to see which are the most informative and which can be discarded. We want to compile a panel with the least number of SNPs that give the most genetic information. Therefore, the test will be the cheapest it can be, but as accurate as possible.


We hope that this test will be able to determine both identity and parentage for ALL lovebird species. Unfortunately, we will only know if this will be possible once all the analyses are completed. But, rest assured, we are doing our best to develop a panel that can determine parentage of all the domestic lovebird species.


If you have any further questions, please feel free to email Henriette at any time!


Kind regards,

Henriette van der Zwan

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