LDHA Gene Discussion

Is there a commercial test currently available in the U.S. where one can submit samples to be analyzed for the LDHA gene? Yes there is. This lab has already conducted LDHA genotyping on racing pigeons and is set up to perform this analysis on a commercial basis. It is as follows:
Gene Check, 1175 58th Ave., Suite 100, Greeley, Colorado 80634
Toll Free Phone 800/822-6740 Website: www.genecheck.com
This lab is headed by Dr. Bob Wagner where his team has performed primarily livestock genotyping for over 17 years and has analyzed over 40,000 sheep samples during that time. Dr Wagner is available to answer in depth questions that you may have concerning LDHA genotyping.

What is the approximate cost for a LDHA test? Cost will be $20.00 per sample/bird and if there are submissions of large numbers of samples, quantity discounts will be available.

How do I collect and submit a sample? This is quite simple. DNA can be extracted from a pigeonís feather, so this makes collection extremely easy. A single feather from the secondary flights is probably the desired feather/sample, as they are shorter than the primaries to enclose in a sample envelope. The small gummed envelopes of the 2 ľ X 3 Ĺ inch or 3 X 4 Ĺ inch size are ideal to place the feather sample in. Seal the envelope and be sure to label the envelope with the birdís band number. The small collection envelopes can then be consolidated into a larger mailing envelope, for sending to the lab. A collection form can be printed from the Gene Check website to accompany samples.

In what ways will the LDHA test be utilized by the sport? One loft races where stamina is essential in hot conditions with headwinds such as the South Africa race, could be a likely choice in analyzing for and sending only AB or AA genotypes. Pigeons selected for and sent to other one loft series may also be analyzed and selected with the beneficial AB or AA genotype in trying to increase their odds in these races.
Elite seed stock producers who look for ways of differentiating themselves from the competition may also utilize LDHA genotyping. Pigeons with the AB and AA genotypes will most likely be in higher demand and bring higher prices as others incorporate this technology into their breeding schemes.
Over time smaller lofts may want to identify the genotypes of their key breeders and breed for an increased frequency of the A allele in their breeding stock.

Are their any negatives? There is the possibility that as the A allele becomes favored, dumping of well bred breeders that test BB onto the internet sale sites to unsuspecting buyers could take place. Also, donít abandon the pigeons that have brought you success. LDHA is only a tool, and cannot replace homing ability, quick orientation, and the desire and determination to get home. Submitted by Phil Miatke, RRV Club, Sterling, Illinois.