1959 - CSIRO (a government research station in Australia) was doing research on sheep prolificacy.
Two sheep breeders named Seears offered the scientists some stock from their Merino flock that had above average prolificacy
rates than normal Merinos. The Merino breed is the best wool breed in the world, has a long breeding season but a very
low lambing rate of 0.6. The CSIRO strain of Merinos that they named Booroola (after the Seears’ farm), achieved
average lambing rates of 2.7. Examination of the pedigrees showed that the greater prolificacy could be attributed to
the action of a single major gene. Other prolific breeds owe their performance to many genes of smaller effect, with
the result that the effect is reduced in each subsequent out-cross generation, and eventually lost. The Booroola gene
can be introduced into any breed of sheep, with little effect on characteristics other than prolificacy and out of season
1982 - Jeremy Sloan, who had a purebred Horned and Polled Dorset flock near
Creemore, Ontario, was the first to import Booroola Merino rams and ewes from New Zealand into Canada.
Jeremy Sloan introduced the B-gene into his Dorsets and increased his flock's lambing rate from 162% - 362%. But it
was very costly to have the sheep tested for the gene since it was not yet completely mapped, so the lab needed IV blood from
the prospect lamb and both parents. It had to be drawn by a vet and shipped to NZ. Jeremy decided that it
was cheaper to simply projeny test for the b-gene. He would keep all the ewe lambs off the Booroola
Ram. He would lamb out all of the B-prospect ewes and if they had twins at their first lambing or triplets by their
2nd lambing, then he considered them B-gene carriers. Although he would not know which were B+ or BB.
Thus the extremely high lambing rates. This projeny testing method of 'educated guessing' as to which were Booroola
and which were not as likely to be, was not exact, but had an acceptable margin of error of 10%.
- Booroola sheep were imported by the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center (MARC), and Agriculture Canada.
1987 - Three 7 year old B+ rams were auctioned at Clay Center, U.S. in August 1987 for $3,500 to $4,500
1985 - Dennis Anderson of Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada purchased a B+ Booroola-Dorset
ram from Jeremy Sloan for $750 and introduced it to his Registered Suffolk and Registered N.C. Cheviot flock.
- The B-gene was finally fully DNA mapped and they could now isolate it with certainty. Therefore testing is simpler and
It was also discovered by AgResearch in NZ, the only lab patented to do the dna test, that the Booroola
gene originated from Garole sheep from India. Reverend Samuel Marsden from Australia, who was a noted sheep farmer back in
the 1800’s, had a flock of Garole Sheep and also acquired the first Spanish Merinos in the country which became the
basis of the Merino breed there. The Garole sheep accidentally breeding Merinos during that era has been proven to be
the origin of the Booroola gene in the Booroola Merinos. Many other countries have used the Booroola gene to increase
the productivity of their native sheep flocks.
2003 - I purchased a B+ Ram Lamb from
Dennis Anderson, with the plan of using him to create TWINNING TEXELS.
Now it is possible to DNA test
B-gene prospects quickly, easily and at a very reasonable price. The lab sends you DNA blotter papers (at no cost) that
will easily fit in a small business sized envelope. You simply nick the lamb's ear and allow 1-2 drops of blood
to fall on the blotter paper. Allow it to dry for 24 hrs. It takes 10 days to get to NZ by air mail and might
cost you $1.50 in postage. They will email you within 7-10 days with the results and follow it up with a hard copy for
your permanent record. It has been costing me only $20/sample when I send 20 at a time.
- Began using B+ Ram, as a yearling, on select individual ewes with high scores for mothering, milk and health.
2006 - Prolific Acres Sheep Farm creates the first DNA Certified BB Booroola Ram in Canada and
begins introgressing the B-gene into a Texel population.
2007 - 2 more
BB Rams produced. Began Scrapie genotyping of rams. Produced first BB Ewe. Produced 2 B+, 1/2 TX RR (Scrapie
Resistant) Rams with gains of 90 lbs in 90 days.
2008 - 3 more BB Rams produced.
First Registered B+ 1/2 Texel Ewe produced. Partners with Black Walnut Lane. BWL purchased proven BB Ram with
QR Genotype for Scrapie Resistance.
2009 - Crop of Registered 1/2 TX B+ Ewes in
March and July. BWL produces 50 B+ ewe lambs.
2010 - Expecting crop of Registered
1/2 & 3/4 TX B+ Ewes, January - July.
As a matter of interest, Garole Sheep (the origin of the
Booroola gene) have 17% single births, 70% twins, 7% triplets, 4% quads, and up to 2% quintuplets – are known for lambing
twice a year and also have proven intestinal parasite resistance.