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Procorns and Specialcorns are working closely with Bangor University to take their sequence of the Corn Snake genome and compare it to a new set of sequences from animals carrying the Stargazer gene.

The ultimate aim for this research is to identify markers in the DNA for the hetrozygous form of the Stargazer gene and then to develop a PCR test that any lab in the world can run.

The results would be published publicly and available as a research paper allowing anyone access to it.

Any PCR test created could be run using just a shed skin and would allow the owner to know if their snake was carrying the gene without having to test breed. Tests are likely to cost in the region of 50-80 euros.

The technology for this kind of sequencing has become better and cheaper so now is a good time to be doing this. It wasn't really possible because of cost until recently.

We need help with the project in a few ways;

- Money - It is going to cost around 5000 euros to run the initial sequences on shed skins from het and homozygous Stargazer animals. It will then be around another 2000 euros to run enough PCR tests against the markers to generate a reliable test.

- Shed skins - We need around 50 shed skins from known het and homozygous animals for the initial sequence. This is going to be tricky because we will need them preserved as soon as possible after shed and will also need as much information on the animal as possible including known genetics, age, sex and preferably parents.

This is a big project to undertake and is going to cost quite a lot of money and as with all things is not guaranteed to find enough markers to generate the test. All the evidence of this kind of thing being done before is very positive so we're going to throw our weight behind it and try to make it happen.

It is likely to take a year to collect all the skins, run the sequences and generate the test.

Please feel free to ask questions and to get involved, we would really appreciate the help.

If you would like to donate money to help with the project then it would be gratefully received, however much.