In November 2008 the worlds first sheep SNP chip was created by Illumina, representing a major step in technology development of which the New Zealand sheep industry had a leading role and will benefit significantly from.
In 2008 the NZ sheep industry, through Ovita, was part of an international consortium that sequenced the sheep genome. From this DNA sequence a finalised list of over 50,000 sheep SNPs were sent to Illumina - a company that constructs SNP chips. From this sequence Illumina created the first sheep SNP chip
The first New Zealand based SNP chip products will be ready for release by Pfizer Animal Genetics (Ovita's commercialisation partner) in mid 2010. These first products will be directed towards providing solutions for parasite resistance and other production traits. Ovita's R&D team at AgResearch are processing and analysing the first genotyping results from the SNP chip to determine SNP effects on traits and how results can be harnessed for whole genome selection (WGS).