IMPORTANT NOTICE! Genetic Testing at Gluck will no longer offer Traditional Blood Typing for parentage verification after April 30. 

The last lab to offer horse blood typing for parentage verification, blood typing has not been recognized as an acceptable method for parentage verification since 2001. Genetic Testing at Gluck continued to offer the test in order to facilitate registration of horses whose parents were deceased and unavailable for DNA testing.  With the pending retirement of the technician who performs blood typing and decreased demand, we have made the decision not to invest the time to train additional personnel in this technology.


Traditional Blood Typing consists of testing blood samples for 7 blood group and 10 biochemical marker systems. Uses of blood typing include: 

  • parentage verification
  • paternity testing
  • identification of individual horses in drug testing cases or cases where horses with similar color and markings may have been switched.

Traditional blood typing is used by the majority of breed organizations.  Blood typing consists of testing genetic differences for nearly 40 different factors, including red cell antigens and serum proteins.  The sample required consists of two tubes of blood - one collected in anticoagulant, and one serum tube. 

Red Cell Typing
Unlike the relatively simple human ABO system, the horse has 7 systems, each of which contain a number of specific “factors”. Because of the variety of possible combinations, red cell typing is very informative for parentage determination. For each “factor” or red cell antigen that we test for, we must develop our own specific “reagent” or antibody to detect that factor. Our panel of reagents is screened exhaustively for specificity and reliability in our tests.

Biochemical Polymorphisms
Both serum proteins and red cell proteins are tested for variation (polymorphisms) by several gel electrophoretic techniques. Ten different systems are tested with these methods, and when combined with the results of the red cell laboratory, provide a profile of an individual horse that can be compared to the blood types of its sire and dam. When there are no discrepancies between the factors possessed by the sire, dam and foal, we say that the “Parentage Qualifies”.