Help Needed from Elk Owners for Groundbreaking ERF Project

November 26, 2018

ERF Project 1902- Elk DNA Genomic Sequencing Collection

The Elk Research Foundation is collecting DNA samples from farmed elk across the United States and Canada in hopes of learning more about elk sequencing technologies.  The ERF is working with Dr. Chris Seabury of Texas A&M University, who is developing a whitetail and mule deer genome.   

Dr. Seabury recently presented the benefits of his ongoing research on the whitetail and mule deer genome at the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) conference. In contrast, very little research of this kind has been performed on North American Elk. The Elk Research Foundation hopes to change that in the future.

The technology for deer is allowing the possibility for more genetic trends to be identified, which may help pin point susceptibility to diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease.

The ERF is currently collaborating with Dr. Seabury on how comprehensive sequencing and a genome for elk can be accomplished. There are several steps to take place in the process, but collecting elk DNA samples is the first targeted goal.

In the coming months, the ERF is requesting elk owners pull DNA hair samples from their animals when they run them through their handling facilities. The animal’s age does not matter, therefore owners working calves this winter can provide the necessary samples. 

Samples will be mailed to the ERF office at the following address:

Elk Research Foundation

9086 Keats Ave SW

Howard Lake, MN 55349

DNA samples will need to be collected very similar to samples collected for parentage.

Each sample needs to be in its own sealed small envelope labeled with the following information:

Tag Number

Male or Female

Ranch Name

City, State/Province

Minnesota elk owner, Mark Luedtke, attended the Seabury seminar at the USAHA conference and saw the need for the elk industry to join the research. “It was evident how much is being learned about whitetail deer and the elk industry is falling behind on this research. I encourage the ERF and industry breeders to provide samples and see what we can learn in this direction,” Luedtke said.  


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