Canine DNA Testing Accuracy Examined

Canine DNA testing has earned increasing popularity. DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid consists of proteins that are set in specific patterns or sequences. Different sets of proteins make up genes or traits. While some traits are expressed, others remain dormant. DNA tests are helpful because they can help you determine your dog’s ancestry and find out if he is at risk of developing certain hereditary diseases.

Dog breeders in particular are using DNA tests to identify pets that are carriers of genes responsible for birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and other health concerns. If any given pet is identified as a carrier of a bad gene, he won’t be used for breeding purposes.

PCR tests

A new tests known as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is being used to identify the presence of different infectious agents in dogs. Since certain viruses and bacteria have DNA, the dog will have an increased amount of bacterial/viral DNA in his body if he has been infected. The PCR tests aims to identify the presence of this DNA and helps confirm diagnosis. Therefore an increasing number of vets now rely on PCR tests for diagnostic purposes.

Performing a DNA Test

In order to perform a DNA test, a sample of tissue will be taken from the pet’s body and sent for laboratory analysis. A small sample of the pet’s blood is another alternative to the tissue sample that needs to be taken. Although you don’t require a vet to take the sample for you, you should consider working with the vet to better understand the results of the pet’s DNA test.

If the DNA test reveals that the pet is a mixed breed, you will have to find out more about the types of diseases your pet is at risk of developing and take precautionary measures to prevent the same.

Limitations of DNA Testing

Although there is a lot that can be accomplished through DNA tests, this field of study is still being explored and there are several facts that have yet to be established. Currently, there are only 100 dog breeds that are identifiable through these tests. Besides this, several genes that are identified may actually have no negative impact on the pet’s health.

DNA test are not always 100 percent accurate. Therefore, it’s important to work with the vet to interpret the pet’s DNA test results.

Getting a DNA Test Done

There are several laboratories that can perform the test for you. Canine Heritage and DOG-DNA are two companies you should look up to find out more about DNA testing in canines. A test would cost you anything from $65 to $100. You could also purchase a kit that you can use at home to determine your dog’s ancestry. These kits are usually available for $50 online.

Research studies are constantly being carried out in the field of DNA testing and gene mapping. While there are many advantages to gene mapping, there are several safety issues that have yet to be looked into.