North American Bison Registry


NABR Services

Note, DNA testing and NABR registration are exclusively available to NBA members only. Not a member? Please join the NBA today!

The North American Bison Registry (NABR), which is also the first species registry, lends credibility to breeding programs through an accurate and science-based record keeping system. The NABR was founded in 1980 and is a National Bison Association committee made up of scientists, bison ranchers, veterinarians and advisory council members.

DNA Testing

Tracking and recording genetic information is a crucial management practice for a healthy herd and a great marketing tool when selling your animals, and the NBA has the tools to help you do it. Through the NBA’s North American Bison Registry (NABR), we offer 3 types of DNA testing to NBA members. Please note, full payment is required prior to receiving test results. The first step is to obtain a herd prefix from the NBA, which is free by emailing, or by calling the NBA at 303-292-2833. The testing is facilitated through our partnership with the University of California – Davis. The NABR DNA testing service offers three types of DNA testing (below):

Parentage – $37/head

Used to determine exact parental lineage lines (i.e., multiple sire herds or large herds where pairing calves and cows can be difficult.) Please note, parents need to have been DNA tested previously to match any DNA data.

Hybridization – $38/head

Used to determine if cattle allele introgression has occurred within and animal or family of animals.

Gene(tic) Diversity/Historic Lineage – $38/head

The percent of the total genetic markers recognized as historic lineage present in one individual of a particular species population.

How to collect and submit hair samples:

If you are collecting skin samples via DNA dart, please contact Jim Matheson (303-292-2833) directly before collecting or shipping samples. Please note that lab turn-around time for DNA tests is approximately 6 weeks.


  • $37 Parentage
  • $38 for Diversity and
  • $38 for Hybridization
  • $37 for Charolais Diluter Gene Test

Step 1. Collect 15 – 20 tail hairs, pliers work well for pulling, per sample, store in a paper envelope, and label accordingly. Please do not save samples in plastic, as it will deteriorate the samples over time. Only use paper for storing samples.

Step 2. Submit this online form and pay for your selected tests. 

Step 4. Once analyzed for the lab, you will be provided an address to submit the samples to. Turnaround on testing is 6 – 8 weeks depending on availability, and results are emailed to the owner by UC Davis. 

Individual Animal Registry:

Registration is currently free with DNA Parentage testing if you wish to do so.

Submit this online form and pay for your registered animals.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more and answer all of your registry questions and see the complete NABR  bylaws here.

In 2016, the NABR adopted the following official position regarding modern bison genetics to educate media sources that publish misinformation on this issue, and to defend the reputation of ethical stewardship shared by all NBA members and producers today:

“Whereas the NABR charges itself with discovering and recording bison heritage, the inclusion of all remnant bison genetics is our mission to ensure that the future of bison conservation is secure. Until it is proven that absolute purity is significant, and can be indisputably identified, the NABR includes all Bison for their genetic contribution, but can exclude introgression occurring since 1492 , i.e. hybrids, by process of genetic testing and ethical management. The NABR is made up of scientists, veterinarians, advisors and bison ranchers who are dedicated to: ‘Preserving the Heritage of American Bison’”

Requirements for registration

  1. DNA parentage test
  2. Animal ID
    1. Farm tag or name
    2. USDA permanent identification (see examples here)
  3. Owner ID
  4. Photo of animal (see examples here)
    1. To showcase the animal and industry’s best form we request that photos of animals in working chutes not be utilized for registry purposes.

Rules for Free Registration

Currently, your animals may be registered with the North American Bison Registry for FREE. The following conditions must be met:

DNA PARENTAGE testing through NABR at $36 per test.  If animals have been previously DNA PARENTAGE verified through NABR they may be included in the registry with no additional cost.


If your animals are or have been DNA PARENTAGE tested through a source other than NABR they may be registered for a discounted fee of $15 per entry.

Conservation Herd Registry

Producers are now able to register their foundation herds as a conservation herd, and thereby record the growth of their herds that are being raised sustainably while contributing to bison conservation.  Cost to participate is a one-time $110 fee to support administration of the program, along with a $50 annual reporting fee.

See all the details in the Conservation Herd Registry Bylaws.

To participate, complete and submit the application. (Word copy here.)