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HealthGene is proud to present a new DNA test to determine the relationship between birds. The Avian Relation DNA Test has been designed to solve problems of inbreeding, to help in maintaining a healthy aviary, and to manage breeding by establishing the best pairs.

In nature, the selection process relies on strength for survival. Any specific characteristic of an animal or bird that carries a negative effect for the population will take this animal or bird out of the reproduction process to stop it from passing this negative characteristic to the next generation. In the hands of a breeder the selection process switches from survival to other goals. For example, the breeder would focus on improving certain beauty characteristics even though it would sometimes lead to diminishing other important qualities that would be required in the wild. Very often the breeder will choose inbreeding as a way to bring out those beauty characteristics faster and easier. Uncontrolled inbreeding leads to health problems. Symptoms that characterize close inbreeding over several generations include decreased fertility, shorter life expectancy, and lower resistance against climate changes and diseases.

The problem of inbreeding has also become an issue with nature conservationists. Dramatically reduced populations of many species makes conservation and protection the only ways to ensure survival of those species. Sometimes, it means taking birds or animals out of the wild, breeding them in captivity and releasing them back into their native environment. A reduced population leads to higher relatedness rates between birds or animals, and inbreeding becomes unavoidable. Properly managed and controlled inbreeding can help to avoid symptoms of heavy degeneration.

Avian Relation DNA Test is based on creating a unique DNA profile for each bird and calculating a rate of shared markers or bands. The band sharing frequency (BSF) between two samples allows for the estimation of the degree of relatedness between the birds from low to high. Birds with low BSF rate are not related to a significant degree and should be considered as prime breeders. Pairs with a high degree of relatedness are siblings, the parent and an offspring, or have several common ancestors in their pedigree. Birds with intermediate BSF percentage share common lineage.

HealthGene requires a blood sample or a blood feather for Avian Relation DNA Test. The results are reported in 10 business days after the arrival of the samples to the laboratory.


Individual-specific DNA fingerprints are inherited in the same simple genetic fashion in birds as in animals and human, and individual birds are as different from one another as are animals. The DNA fingerprints are inherited in Mendelian fashion (meaning that these DNA fingerprints are passed from the parents to the progeny) and it is possible to identify those fingerprints inherited from each parent. Each bird has his or her own unique characteristic pattern of DNA fingerprints referred to as their DNA profile. An offspring receives half of its DNA fingerprints from its mother and half from its father. Related birds (e.g. siblings) are expected to share a higher number of their fingerprints than are unrelated birds. The DNA fingerprint is a permanent individual identification for the bird. DNA typing results can help the breeder maintain the genetic constitution of flock and the greatest genetic diversity in progeny. DNA typing results also can be used to get a general idea of which birds would make good mates.


Whole blood (0.1-0.3 ml) collected in a lavender top (EDTA) tube.
Dried blood on a filter paper card. Click here to order sample collection kit

Special Handling: Store blood samples at 4°C until pick up or shipment.
Test Code: A102
Price: $88.00 per sample (plus taxes for Canadian clients only)

Brock and White (1992) Application of DNA fingerprinting to the recovery program of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 89:11121-11125.