Skip to content

Market Overview

This fine needle biopsy method is used to evaluate mammary tissue collected repetitively over time from the same animal during development, allowing researchers to predict productivity, the animal’s quality, health, and chance of disease. The U.S. meat and livestock market is a growing market, forecast to have a value of $203.5 billion by 2019. Currently, the market lacks a model to provide predictive values and better understand animal disease. This poses problems when it comes to understanding cell signaling events in mammals, assessing beef quality, and making genetic decisions regarding animal productivity. Clemson University researchers have developed a non-invasive biopsy procedure that allows for mammary tissue to be analyzed from the same animal over time, therefore, decreasing variation and providing a way to better predict the animal’s comprehensive health. This approach is safe, cost effective, time sensitive and could generate a predictive value for animal productivity and well-being before the animal reaches maturity.


Animal health diagnostics, mammary development models

Technical Summary:

This method uses a sterile, fine-needle biopsy device to collect mammary tissue samples once a week during the course of early development. The samples are either paraffin embedded and stained for use in fluorescence microscopy or RNA isolation is performed to evaluate changes in cell signaling over time. This data is then used as a genomic indicator of animal productivity. Recently sequenced transcriptomic data has shown significantly up and down-regulated genes beginning in one-week old animals. The predictive genetic value provided from gene expression will vastly increase the degree of sensitivity at the molecular level of evaluation. Lastly, a comprehensive prediction can be made regarding the animal’s health and productivity during its life post-development. This method is repeatable and reproducible, low-cost, and has the potential to allow early prediction of animal health unlike traditional methods of post-mortem analysis.


  • Uses a non-invasive, fine needle biopsy to safely collect tissue samples from the same animal over time, eliminating variability that results from using different animals
  • Generates a predictive value for an animal’s productivity before it reaches reproductive age, allowing better management decisions to be made
  • Provides a way to analyze the role of development signaling pathways in the progression of disease in animals, leading to a better understanding of pathophysiology

Download Printable PDF

Technology Overview

State of Development

Animal study validation

Patent Type



Agriculture, Biotechnology

Serial Number


CURF Reference No.



Heather Dunn, Kathryn A Elliott, Thomas Scott, Matthew Burns

For More Info, Contact:

Interested in this technology?
Contact curf@clemson.edu
Please put technology ID in subject line of email.


Get Started
Ready to Get Started?

Contact our team at CURF

Contact CURF