Question: Why does the ILR not require proof of
parentage by DNA as a requirement of registration
for all llamas?
Trust in the Seller . . .
The short answer is that the pedigreed livestock
business has always operated with trust in the
seller as one of its most important factors. People
simply do not buy from those they do not trust.
Still, honest mistakes can be made and the ILR Board
of Directors believes that the current ILR DNA rules
provide the necessary pedigree proof to those llama
owners who need or desire it without adding extra
expense to those llama owners who do not need or
desire pedigree proof. (Sellers who want to provide
verification for their buyers can do so and buyers
who want verification before purchasing a llama can
ask the seller to provide it.)
BOD believes in and encourages DNA testing
. . .
The ILR Board believes in and encourages DNA testing
for parent verification. To encourage more DNA
testing by breeders, the ILR has been working since
2000 to simplify the sampling process for DNA
testing. In 2003, we made the transition from a test
tube of whole blood samples shipped in an insulated
package to a few drops of blood applied to an FTA
card that can be shipped in an envelope. In 2006, we
added the option of taking hair root ball samples
for DNA testing so owners can use whichever method
of collection works best for them. The ILR is
encouraging samples of DNA be sent in to the ILR
office on any and all llamas for the purpose of
storing the samples until they may be needed. There
is no charge for this service and many llama owners
are taking advantage of this service.
The largest collection of DNA parent verified llamas
in the world
. . .
While it is true that ILR members cannot thrust
their thumbs in their vest pockets, puff their
chests out, and proclaim to the world that the ILR
is a "100% DNA parent-verified" registry, they can
point out that ILR records include well over 10,000
llamas who are fully parent verified. They can also
point out that those 10,000 plus ILR records form
the largest collection of DNA parent verified llamas
in the world! They can also point out that the
ILR database includes an additional 2600 llamas that
are parent verified to the sire only, another 400
that are parent verified to the dam only, and still
another 2000 plus that have DNA profiles on record.
Altogether, the ILR database includes over 15,000
llamas with DNA profiles on file, which is,
again, the largest collection of llama DNA
profiles in the world. In addition, the ILR has
a growing number of either blood or root ball
samples on file, just in case the DNA of those
llamas is ever needed.
All involved have a degree of assurance they feel is
. . .
The current ILR system of DNA rules provides all
llama owners involved with the degree of assurance
of parent verification that they feel is necessary
and are willing to pay for. Those in the llama
community, who are not really concerned about
parentage, are not forced to pay for a degree of
certainty that they do not need or care about. In
addition, it allows those who are concerned about
total accuracy of parentage the means to obtain that
certainty. No one is excluded by extra costs and
everyone can obtain the degree of assurance they
Review of DNA requirements
. . .
Still, even with a good system, there is always room
for improvement. So, at their upcoming annual
face-to-face meeting (June 29 – July 1, 2009), the
ILR Board will be reviewing the ILR DNA
requirements. There has been some discussion on the
part of the ILR Board on the possibility of
requiring either an FTA card or a fiber root ball
sample of the cria with each registration. These
samples would be stored in the ILR office in case
one was ever needed. There would be no charge for
the service, the only cost to the owner would be the
few minutes it takes to pull a few hairs, put them
in an envelope and label it correctly. This new
policy would enhance the current philosophy of
making the technology of parent verification by DNA
available to everyone but limit the cost to those
who need or require it. There may be other options
that the Board should consider. If you have opinions
that you would like to share with them regarding DNA
requirements or any other issues, write or email the
ILR office with your thoughts and we will forward
them to the ILR Board.
. . .
In summary, while the ILR might gain “bragging
rights” in some circles if we enforced a
“one-size-fits-all” rule that required DNA parent
verification for all registrations, the ILR Board
believes doing so would do more harm than good. They
believe it is more beneficial to stay with some
version of a system that allows all llama owners to
access the degree of parent verification they desire
and are willing to pay for. The ILR is a registry
for all llama owners, not just those who classify
themselves as breeders.
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