Pilot project to verify serum IgA for breeding for worm resistance


Beef & Lamb
Project code:
01 September 2020 - 31 March 2021
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:

About this project

AHDB are working with Lleyn, Exlana and Romney breeders to look at the value of using IgA from blood serum to assess genetic resistance to worms. 

In 2020, as a one off activity the following funding is available to English flocks. 

  • £5.50/sample for Serum IgA (only - AHDB are not funding Saliva IgA this year). This covers the full lab costs at BioBest, though I am aware breeders will have some additional costs associated with materials, labour and postage
  • For sheep being sampled for Serum IgA, there is also £4/sample subsidy for FEC samples that are taken at the same time
  • An additional £250/farm towards the cost of a vet visit for those flocks sampling 100 or more lambs – providing they have used a vet for IgA sampling and can provide paperwork to support this claim

The offer is only for:

  • Clients in England, as this is funded by AHDB.  
  • Signet weight recorded lambs with both parents listed on the Signet database and accurate dates of birth
  • The Lleyn, Exlana and Romney breeds as maternal breeds already engaged in this work
  • Samples taken between August and the end of October, ideally for many breeders this will be September

More information on breeding for parasite resistance can be found on the Signet Breeding Services website.


Who provides IgA testing services and what does it cost?

In 2020 IgA testing will be provided by Biobest Labs. The test is priced at £5.50/sample. Please contact Biobest before samples are dispatched as the test is offered on the basis of prior agreement only.

Samples need to be accompanied by a submission form, which can be obtained from Biobest. 

Please contact Rebecca Mearns rebecca.mearns@biobest.co.uk if you have any questions about serum or saliva IgA submissions

Send your samples to:

Biobest Laboratories Ltd
6 Charles Darwin House
The Edinburgh Technopole
Milton Bridge
Nr Penicuik
EH26 0PY


Update: 08/08/2020 - Sampling advice from Rebecca at BioBest

Rebecca Mearns from BioBest recently reminded us that the IgA values calculated are done so relative to a set of controls, which may vary slightly between tests. So all the samples from a flock that are to be compared together must be run on the same test. This would normally be the case where results come as a single submission, but if the submission is split and posted separately and this is not the case it is important to let BioBest know so they can hold off testing until they have all the samples and can test all the flock samples together.

Update: 18/08/2020 - Meeting for Lleyn Breeders

Slides from the Lleyn meeting are now available.