DNA Tests

Unistel Medical Laboratories (Pty) Ltd

Unistel Medical Laboratories (Pty) Ltd. (UML) was founded in 1999 and is a dedicated human and animal genetics testing centre located on the Campus of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa. UML offers a complete genetic testing service to physicians, patients and clients. All staff members are dedicated to providing the highest quality medical and animal genetic services possible.  We constantly strive to maintain excellence through research, technological innovations and advancement, personal commitment through training and wide participation in the UKNEQUAS quality assurance scheme.


Unistel Medical Laboratories is very proud of our ability to provide extremely fast turnaround times while unsurpassed service quality is maintained.  We constantly monitor current literature and strive to provide the latest information for all services. UML provides a full range of clinical and research genetic testing services in association with various dedicated accredited expert laboratories. Families seeking genetic counseling receive supportive attention from professionals associated with UML counseling services.

The professional staff is available 7 days a week to assist all physicians, patients and clients.  We are willing to call test results during evenings and on weekends because we know hearing good results alleviates patient anxiety.








UML is a worldwide provider of comprehensive, state-of-the-art genetic services, including: Chromosome analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis, DNA diagnostic procedures and Genetic counseling by registered and experienced counselors.  UML excels in early amniocentesis analysis, interphase FISH and is one of the most experienced laboratories in providing FISH preimplantation genetic testing (FPGD). FISH is an essential tool for the correct diagnosis and treatment stratification of certain haematologic conditions such as Chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukaemia (CML) Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) and Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).  Confirmation of amplification of the herceptin gene by FISH is used to predict the effective use of Trastuzumab for breast cancer patients. Locus specific FISH probes are useful in the diagnostic process of chromosome microdeletion syndromes like Di George, Williams and Prader Willi syndromes while subtle chromosome abnormalities can be defined using chromosome specific FISH probes.

Molecular DNA diagnostic tests can be offered for a wide variety of single gene disorders like Cystic Fibrosis, Familial Hypercholesterolemia and Apo E phenotype for Alzheimer risk. A complete and extremely reliable testing service for mutations causative of familial breast and ovarian cancer in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 can be offered as a result of a long standing relationship with United Kingdom reference laboratories. Also here the turnaround time for results is good without compromising quality and accuracy.

UML is one of the founding members of the African Society for Genetic Profiling (ASGEP) in 1996 which consists of private and government Laboratories in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Mauritius doing paternity and forensic DNA typing for forensic purposes. UML offers a premium service where the DNA profiling matches world standards and is faster than any other in Southern Africa.  DNA from mouth swabs, hair follicles, blood or alternative tissue can be obtained in 12 to 24 hours, helping the a speedy completion to the legal process. DNA profile analysis for paternity and relationship testing making use of short tandem repeats (STR’s) is provided by a dedicated team of medical scientists.

A wide variety of genetic services for animal breeding, selection and studbook verification are available to the agricultural sector. Services include DNA profiling and breeding verification for cattle, horses, dogs, sheep and goats, testing for genetic disorders like Pompe disease, “bulldog” calves and Curly calf syndrome and testing for economic important quantitative loci for meat tenderness, marbling and feed efficiency.

National Zoological Gardens (NZG)

Research orientated services

Zoological Diagnostic Pathology Service for zoo and free ranging wildlife

A wide range of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and other species are examined. The service has three main components:

  • personalized service providing accurate and thorough diagnosis of the cause of death and any other conditions present in the animal;
  • storage of specimens and data from the case;
  • use of these for future research projects on wildlife diseases in southern Africa.

Dr Emily Lane has over 20 years of experience in pathology and a life-long commitment to wildlife issues in southern Africa. She trained as a pathologist in Zimbabwe, is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and a registered specialist in pathology with the South African Veterinary Council.

The service accepts whole fresh carcasses and tissues (on ice) as well as 10% buffered formalin-fixed samples in leak proof containers. PLEASE do not freeze fresh tissues or carcasses as this greatly restricts the amount of useful information that can be obtained from them.

How to submit a sample

  • Before submitting a bird necropsy, please pay a deposit of R2000 in to the following account (National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, ABSA, Acc # 4060145151, Branch code: 632005) and email or fax confirmation of payment to Ms Sonja Rangoolam at sonja@nzg.ac.za or
    +27 12 323 4540.
  • Refunds: Please submit your banking details to Ms Sonja Rangoolam at sonja@nzg.ac.za for refunds.
  • Please use the sample form [MSWord format | Adobe PDF format] when submitting a sample, either sending it with the sample or emailing it to jacqui@nzg.ac.za.
  • Fresh samples that can be delivered Monday to Thursday may be sent overnight delivery.
  • Delivery address: Dr Emily Lane, Research Building, National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.

Please note that delivery to the Zoo’s postal box is unreliable, even when using Speed Courier services with a tracking number. Please only use the street address for delivery by courier.

Contact details: Tel: +27 12 328 3265 x106/230 or +27 12 339 2706 Fax: + 27 86 680 5093.

 The service can accept samples 24/7 and has refrigeration facilities at the security gate for samples delivered out of hours. Contact Dr Lane to notify her of delivery of the sample on +27 72 297 6571.

Molecular Diagnostics laboratory

The NZG has a state of the art, fully equipped molecular genetics laboratory and render the following services for the conservation community and includes:

  • DNA profiling of wildlife
  • Parentage verification of wildlife
  • Establishment and maintenance of National Genetic Databases
  • Avian & reptilian sexing
  • Screening for chytrid fungus for amphibians

Wildlife Disease Information

Price list

Download and view the 2016 price list.

University of Pretoria

Service Division

The OPVGL service division is committed to providing an efficient and quality service that is both flexible and affordable to meet the specific needs of the client. Services are developed, updated and provided as clients require and research questions arise in the academic environment of the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Services to the animal breeding industry and veterinary profession continue to increase and student projects are based on specific industry and veterinary genetic questions. Services include, DNA profiling and parentage testing for pedigree validation, disease and trait testing caused by specific sequence variations and the testing of forensic samples for individual identification. Various species are tested and test information and test request forms are provided.


For blood samples: Please use EDTA (purple stopper tubes) and label clearly with the identification as indicated on the form. If shipped directly keep cool, if stored, keep frozen.

For hair samples (not recommended in carnivores): Locate the coarsest hairs you can find (preferably tail). Hold the hairs close to the skin and pull. Important: DO NOT CUT HAIRS. Visually inspect the hairs for intact roots. Enclose at least 20-40 strands of dry hair in an envelope. Label each individual envelope with the name of the animal sampled.

For tissue samples: A block of tissue approximately 1 cm x 1cm from any organs preferably muscle or heart. Skin would be the sample of choice, simplest to send a piece of the ear. Alternatively biopsy darts are suitable. If shipped directly keep cool, if stored, keep frozen.

COST OF TEST per sample (vat incl.):

Rhino Genotyping for RhODIS database: R400

(Rhino sampling kits are available on request)

Elephant Genotyping: R400

Buffalo Genotyping: R400

Hyena Sexing: R200

Sable and Roan / Impala: R400

Gnu (wildebeest): R400

Wild Felids: R400

Wild Dogs: R400

Crocodile: R400

White lion test or King cheetah test R2000 (Includes profile and certificate)

Zebra: R400

Black impala test: R2000 (Confirms black impala and black carriers/ splits) (Includes profile and certificate)
> 10 samples of the above colour tests R1000 (10 samples must be sent in 1 submission)
WRSA members receive a 20% discount on the Black impala test until end 2015 / please supply the WRSA membership number when submitting the samples

All other species and testing on request

Bone: R1000

Please note: One copy of the results will be sent to the owner / submitter as named in the upper left hand corner. Please indicate the preferred method for sending results and where the results must be sent if it is not just to the specified owner.



Include a cheque payable to the University of Pretoria for the applicable amount or deposit in the following account:

Bank: ABSA

Account number: 2140000038

Branch: 335545 (Hatfield)

Reference: Owner’s name and AB916

Stored samples: The samples will be stored indefinitely in the reference library of the VGL. Every effort will be made to ensure that the samples are maintained in the condition submitted. All samples are kept on behalf of the “owner” as specified in the space provided. Samples will only be used as specified by the “owner” on this form unless ceded to the VGL or other party in writing, by the owner, if a request for use of the samples arises in the future or the owner requests further testing.


Samples should be sent in by the most rapid means possible. Avoid sending samples late in the week or prior to statutory holidays. The following form must accompany your samples:


Samples can be sent by:

Courier to:

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Pretoria
Soutpan Road

Speed Service to:

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Private Bag x04

Inqaba Biotec

Pamflet on wildlife testing at Inqaba Biotec

Documents for DNA Sample Submission:

Molecular Testing Request Form

Sample Collection Protocol




Wildlife DNA profiling and parentage

Wildlife DNA profiling is performed, on several species (see below), using an extensive marker panel consisting of highly informative markers. Up to 30 markers are used for routine DNA profiling and parentage of wildlife species. These extensive marker panels assists in the elucidation of relatedness within a given population even when such a population is genetically less diverse.

Buffalo Wildebeest Lechwe
Sable Springbok Kudu
Roan Nyala Eland
Oryx Blesbok Other antelope (on request)
Impala Bontebok

Cost: R395 (excl. VAT) – includes DNA profiling and parentage when applicable.

Sampling Instructions

Sampling Submission Form


Contact Information



+ 27 72 626 2826

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 11186, Universitas, Bloemfontein,
9321, South Africa

 Physical Address:
Uitzich Road, Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein,
9338, South Africa

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GPS coordinates

Latitude: 28°58’44.69’’S

Longitude: 26°5’22.5’’E






South Africa is somewhat unique in that a large proportion of our biodiversity reside in private ownership. As such, the custodianship and protection of species reside with the State, Provincial Authorities as well as Private Entities. Individuals therefore play an important role in ensuring the protection and continued survival of a large number of species. Given the high commercial value of economically important species, animals are frequently translocated across large geographic distances. These translocations often happen in the absence of accurate scientific information about genetic provinces or distinct gene pools. Conservation management actions and permitting decisions that is based on inaccurate data is at best inefficient, and may even lead be to the detriment of the species.

To assist in making accurate decisions regarding permitting or breeding of wildlife species, we apply our research on roan and sable antelope, and offer a service to determine the genetic provenance of animals. This information is critically important in ensuring the continued existence of lineages with different evolutionary trajectories.

Summary of research findings on roan antelope:

Roan antelope is distributed across sub-Saharan Africa. Originally there were six (6) recognized subspecies based on colour and other morphological differences (Ansell 1971). Following a scientific study that included both mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we report the presence of two distinct Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs). These include animals from West Africa (known as the koba-group), with the second distinct group comprising animals from East, Central and Southern Africa (known as the rest). There is no distinction between animals naturally occurring in East, Central and Southern Africa based on nuclear marker, with subtle differences for mitochondrial markers.

2004 Population genetics of roan antelope Alpers et al (Molecular Ecology)

Summary of research findings on sable antelope:

Sable antelope is one of the enigmatic large antelope species of Africa. Four (4) subspecies were originally described based on phenotypic differences across their range (Ansell 1971). DNA data (Pitra et al, Mol Ecol 2002 volume 11, pages 1197 – 1208) uncovered the existence of three (3) genetic groups with some correspondence to the subspecies described by Ansell. The most striking difference was that sable antelope naturally occurring in Zambia was not that different to those south of the Zambezi River, with a unique and very distinct group of antelope in Tanzania. In 2006, we documented the re-discovery of the giant sable in Angola; these magnificent animals were believed extinct due to civil unrest. In 2010, following years of speculation in the popular media, we demonstrated that animals originally brought to South Africa from Western Zambia group with others from Zambia.

A complete understanding of the evolutionary history of a species, including current management, requires information from both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Through a large, multi-national collaborations, the CIBIO / InBio [https://cibio.up.pt] developed a suite of 57 microsatellite markers for sable antelope. The development of such a unique set of markers allows for a refined and unprecedented understanding of sable antelope evolution. Through this, we are now able to provide important data to guide sable antelope conservation and management. The collaboration include researchers from CIBIO / InBio in Portugal (Prof Nuno Ferrand, Dr Raquel Godinho, Pedro Vaz Pinto), the MolZooLab at the University of Johannesburg (Bettine van Vuuren) and the University of Copenhagen (Hans Siegismund) [http://research.ku.dk].

For more information on the nuclear testing, please see the information brochure:

2006 DNA-led discovery of the giant sable antelope Pitra et al (Eur J Wildlife Research)

2010 Western Zambian sable van Vuuren et al (SA J Wildlife Research)

2015 First estimates of genetic diversity Vaz Pinto et al (Eur J Wildlife Research)

Please contact us for additional information or view document HERE on Sable Nuclear testing.


Bettine van Vuuren

Professor: Zoology

University of Johannesburg

Tel: +27 11 559 2457

Fax: +27 11 559 2286

Cell: +27 82 337 4246

Email: bettinevv@uj.ac.za

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