Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Which genes can be tested?
The following tests are currently available:
- Albino test: This test checks if your animal is heterozygous (100% het) for any of the following alleles: Albino, Candy or Toffee. The test can also differentiate between visual animals: Candy, Candino, Toffino, Toffee or Albino.
- Lavender albino test: This test checks if your animal is heterozygous (100% het) Lavender Albino or if it is a visual Lavender albino.
- Ultramel test: This test checks if your animal is heterozygous (100% het) for any of the following alleles: Ultramel or Caramel Albino or if it is a visual Ultramel or Caramel albino.
- Piebald test: This test checks if your animal is heterozygous (100% het) Piebald or visual Piebald.
Why can I not test for other genes?
Other tests are not available at the moment. It is likely that other tests will be added soon, but this depends on the work of other people in the US and Canada. I would love to express my gratitude to Prof. Hannah Seidel and colleagues from the ball python genetics project who has made this possible and Prof. Rowan Barrett and colleagues who have identified the Piebald genotype. Both research groups have shared their results by publishing and these tests wouldn’t be possible without their work.
What is the price of a test?
The price of the test depends on the number of animals you want to be tested:
- 1-9 animals (sheds): The base price of a test is 35 Euros per test. If you want an additional test on the same animal, the price is 25 Euros.
- 10-49 animals (sheds): If you want to test 10 animals or more, the base price drops to 30 Euros per test. An additional test on the same animal remains 25 Euros.
- 50 animals or more: If you want to test more than 50 animals, the price drops to 25 Euros per test. An additional test on the same animal remains 25 Euros
For example, you have 15 animals that you want to test. Of those 15 animals, 3 need to be tested for multiple genes. This means you will have to pay 15x 30 Euros + 3x 25 Euros.
Please remark that UK customers will have to pay an additional 10 GBP to pay for the CITES (thanks brexit!).
Why are prices in the UK more expensive?
Samples will have to be shipped from the UK to Europe. Since ball pythons are CITES listed animals, we have to apply for CITES permits. The price of the permit is 10GBP/shed. Sheds will be collected by our partner, Luke Fines in the UK and shipped to Belgium.
How does the test work?
Genetic material (DNA) is extracted from dry ball python sheds. The genetic material is then multiplied by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and read by sequencing. This way, we can identify the mutations that are responsible for a certain morph. For example, we know that in Pied animals a "C" has been replaced by a "T". This means, non het Pied animals carry two copies containing a "C", heterozygous animals carry a copy containing a "C" and a copy containing a "T" and visual Pieds contain two copies containing a 'T".
Can I test with a wet shed?
No, a shed that was wet for too long or not dry enough will not work. The DNA in the shed degrades fast, so we will not be able to tell which genes your snake is carrying.
Where do you perform the tests?
The tests are performed by Jurgen, owner of ProHerper who also has a PhD in molecular cell biology. In other words, genetic tests is his "real" job! The tests itself are performed in the labs of the University of Leuven.