Over the past 30 years cattle have been identified by blood typing, but recently the use of DNA markers has provided a more precise method of identifying individuals and verifying their parentage. This article describes the use of microsatellite-based DNA markers for confirming the identity of semen, as part of the evidence presented in a legal dispute. Two panels of markers and two methods for identifying allelic variation are compared; for both approaches the likelihood of finding two Charolais individuals with the same genotype was less than one in a million. Animals can therefore be identified conclusively from DNA samples, a technique which could be of use when their identity is in dispute.
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