In the period of the late 1980s through to the 1990s, a window of opportunity to secure Japanese Black – Wagyu genetics became available. In all, around 221 animals were shipped live to the US, along with genetics; with the majority arriving on Australian shores facilitated by our industry’s early pioneers. The Japanese government, unhappy with the events, closed the doors to export of Wagyu genetics. There will be no more.

The three major black strains of Japanese Black – Tajiri or Tajima, Fujiyoshi (Shimane) and Kedaka (Tottori) evolved due to regional geographic isolation in Japan. These breeding differences have produced a Japanese national herd that comprises 90% black cattle with the remainder being of the red strains (Akaushi) Kochi and Kumamoto, which have been strongly influenced by Korean and European breeds, particularly Simmental.

All breeds of cattle, including Wagyu, have undesirable genetic conditions. Fortunately, advances in molecular genetics have facilitated the development of DNA tests for their management. Breed societies are at the forefront of development of strategies to manage undesirable genetic conditions and seedstock members are leading the industry with their uptake of this technology.

Why collect Genetics information

With a limited supply of Wagyu genetics outside Japan it is important to understand the merit of our Foundation Bulls, but also establish new Sires and Dams for generations to come.

In order to do that, genetic testing for Parent Verification is required, as well as understanding the limits of breeding within Fullblood herds to minimise the risks associated with inbreeding. To register cattle with the Association, all animals must be DNA tested using a tissue sample and you must be a registered member of the Association.


The DNA Testing Process has been streamlined to improve traceability of requests and correlation of results. Please ensure that the current DNA Test Request Form is used when submitting to the AWA.

To gain an overview of the DNA Testing Process, go to Forms, Guides and Useful Tools

Please be aware that the lab may send interim results as they are completed. This may mean you receive results in multiple files over the reporting period.

Crossbred Wagyu Tests (CWT) are designed to give the level of Wagyu content and may require additional time to complete once the AWA receives the initial results from the laboratory. When CWT results are available, they are loaded into AWA’s system and reported to you.

Download a guide to the DNA testing process (PDF – 237kb)

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