Neogen Genomics | Lincoln, NE Facility Tour

August 07, 2018

Imagine running a family beef cattle operation or helping clients as a veterinarian.

How can you help your animals through DNA testing? By working with the Neogen® Genomics lab.

This video shows a behind-the-scenes look at Neogen's genomics operations in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Video Transcript

Welcome to Neogen® Genomics, the global leader in DNA testing for animals!

Each day, our lab receives tens of thousands of individual animal samples from customers all over the world.

Our lab uses some of the most advanced technology available to read the code of DNA, the blueprint for life itself, to predict how it influences the well-being and productivity of animals and the people who care for them.

This tour provides an overview of how this process works.

Imagine a family cattle operation that wants to make better long-term decisions about how it breeds its herd, or a veterinarian seeing a new puppy for the first time, or a geneticist at a leading university working on better ways to feed the world, for all of these customers the DNA testing process begins by sending a sample from an individual or group of animals to Neogen.

When the materials arrive at Sample Reception, our group logs every item into our system giving each a specific ID that follows it from beginning to end.

A tool called the laboratory information management system tracks the hundreds of thousands of tests underway. It records essential information about each sample and sets up the testing to reveal DNA encoded in the sample.

Think of Sample Reception like a giant funnel, gathering many thousands of samples each day from many species of animals and plants.

The next step involves extracting molecules of DNA from various species cells.

The original sample material could be hair follicles, blood, tissue or even unique items like deer antlers or cheek swabs from cats. In each case, the initial target units are the nucleus of the cells in the sample.

To get to the DNA inside the cells, our DNA extraction lab prepares and processes cells from the animal or plant materials.

At this stage, we shift from the visible world to work at the molecular level.

In DNA extraction, we use chemistry to break down cell walls and free the DNA contained inside the cell nucleus.

Special instruments isolate the DNA by binding it to extremely small magnetic beads. While the bead holds the DNA molecules, the chemistry washes away other parts of the cell or organic debris.

The result is isolation of a clean pure sample of DNA.

Next, the lab staff placed the small amount of pure DNA into special 96-well plates. These plates can hold 96 different animal samples and will be processed in economical batches. These steps, and the many ways that we use cutting-edge science to automate our technology, help Neogen ensure highly accurate DNA test data, fast processing and affordable services.

The final lab steps are setting up the samples to run on advanced instruments that detect specific DNA markers and read targeted sequences of genetic code.

First we take the minute quantity of DNA obtained through DNA extraction and amplify it. This amplification process makes thousands of copies of the DNA.

In most cases the next step is to place the DNA sample onto a chip or what is known as an assay. This is designed to detect targeted variations in DNA. Those targets help govern how traits are expressed in a living creature.

There may be specific parts of DNA that are of special interest, for example, how does some cattle gain weight in comparison to others, or what microbes are detected in a food manufacturing facility, or, even, will a puppy be at risk for a health condition later in life and need special veterinary support. There are many, many variations that are influenced by the genetics of the animal.

Revealing this variety is complex.

When placing DNA onto a chip the target area is often stained with a fluorescent dye.

When fed into special instruments the DNA targets are excited with a laser beam. This reveals delicate changes in the DNA strand and begins to reveal how those changes may be expressed in life.

By seeing this data we can analyze the animals genetic data for meaningful patterns.

These steps rely on some of the most advanced technologies in the world including those that scientists use to study personalized cancer care in humans.

Our final stage involves analyzing the data generated from the DNA instruments.

We carefully examine the results from the various scanners and employ complex math formulas to interpret the raw DNA.

After careful analysis and quality control. we report the data to our customers.

The findings help them make better decisions whether they're breeding livestock, developing new science for agricultural or forestry products, using preventative veterinary care with pets, or protecting the safety and abundance of our food supply.

Neogen's goal is to serve customers by providing accurate, high-quality genotyping data to deliver knowledge quickly so our customers can make timely decisions and to serve our clients with fair, affordable prices.

Each day we come to work to improve the well-being of animals, to enhance the safety and sustainability of food and agriculture, and to explore the exciting new frontier of genomics.

Thank you for joining us on this video tour. You're always welcome to visit our facilities. We love to share how the science of DNA translates into real benefits in our world.

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Category: Behind the Scenes