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Since the recently organized international congress of ISAG ( ) in China ( ) there is a scientific agreement for DNA parentage control with the pigeon. Just as with the horse, the dog, the cat, swine, cattle, etc... there is also now an international agreement by ISAG to use a certain universal DNA test (Panel of markers) with a high quality and statistics for the PIGEON !!


What is ISAG?


The organization International Society of Animal Genetics is an independent international forum of universities, labs, academics and everyone involved in the domain of DNA research in animals, with as goal to exchange information about anything that has to do with animal genetics. Recently in Xi'an, China from july 27th till august 1st, there was their bi-annual conference. This included a wide range of workshops and presentations about new and old developments in this extremely fast growing domain of science. The thousands of visitors have discussed about a lot of issues concerning DNA. On these conferences there are also new agreements made between universities and labs f.e. to use certain standards for a good and uniform quality control.

Internationally agreed PIGEON Marker Panel by ISAG


So now this has finally also happened for racing pigeons. After a long road of data exchange between labs and a lot of tests, there is an agreement on a good scientifically and statistically reliable DNA test. This panel consists of 12 markers with the possibility to include 4 extra markers to heighten the reliability. 12 markers means 24 different places on the DNA strands ( because chromosomes are present in pairs), which means a very high reliability of the tests. A test of 16 markers is off course extremely reliable.

What are the advantages?


  • The exchange of data between labs is effortless, because everyone (every quality lab) has to use the same way of reporting
  • The DNA profile of a pigeon is useable everywhere in the world for parentage control if tested by this international standard
  • The use of the international panel is a clear quality control. There are international ring tests between the labs checking the quality of each others tests.


Why an international standard?


Because of the fast growing market in Pigeon DNA testing, there was an increasing pressure from buyers, brokers, sellers, vets and labs to have a universal clear and comparable quality DNA test. Because the quality of tests can vary tremendously – there is a huge difference between a 8 marker panel (or even less) and a 16 marker panel - . Besides it should be possible that every DNA profile, where ever it has been tested could be compared with f.e. parents tested in another lab. This seems only logical but this was certainly not the case.


What does this mean for the fancier buying and selling pigeons?


It means there is one very reliable international DNA test for the pigeon, comparable between labs (at least if the lab uses the international standard). In this way every discussion about reliability of labs and paternity tests are not necessary any more.
Every test according to the standard is of a very high quality. This means the chance that a brother or sister could be falsely DNA certified as parent of a bird, becomes very small, according to this standard pigeon test.

A huge advantage is off course that every DNA profile can be compared with profiles tested in other labs.
In other words no apples and lemons comparison any more.


What is the role of PiGen?


PiGen has chosen very consciously from the beginning of its existence for the best quality and reliability, and so also for these kind of labs. Fortunately all old data in the PiGen database are therefore completely compatible with this new international standard! As a quality DNA label PiGen has always tried to be as highly qualitative as possible, from independent sample taking to testing to definite certification (and DNA pedigree). Flexibility and open cooperation is crucial in this fast growing domain, where new techniques and know-how evolve very fast.



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