Did you think that genetic predisposition tests were only for humans? Did you ever wonder whether animal DNA testing would also be available? Have you never pondered on which of the dogs amongst your prized pedigrees is the parent of a brood of puppies? This latter example would in fact be crucial for you to be able to follow up the pedigree of the dogs as it goes from generation to generation.
DNA tests for pets
First of all, DNA is found in almost all living organisms; some organisms such as viruses have RNA but viruses are special because we do not even know whether they are alive or dead. When looking for a DNA test for your four-legged (or two legged for that matter) friends, always make sure the lab is accredited to carry out DNA testing. The accreditation mainly concerned with DNA testing companies is ISO 17025. Look out for the more efficient companies that offer a reasonable turnaround time and provide you with the assistance and information you need for the test.
If you have ever bought a DNA test for humans, you must be thinking that animal testing sounds just the same. In fact, give or take it is. You will even be sent a home-kit with the instructions, forms to fill and buccal swabs needed to extract the saliva sample from which the DNA profile will be extracted. Birds are the exception; these animals are not swabbed and as DNA samples from birds is taken from a feather or some blood from a clipped nail.
Establishing the parentage of dogs
If you are a breeder then you will know the importance of establishing parentage. Just like a human’s DNA, a dog’s DNA profile is unique. The exception to this is identical twin dogs that will have identical DNA profiles. A dog’s parentage can be established because the laws of genetics make it clear that every dog has two copies of DNA, one inherited from the female parent (in the case of dogs, the dam), and one inherited from the male parent (called the sire). This means the DNA testing can establish which dogs are the biological parents of a given litter.
Many companies offer veterinary genetic tests and just about any domesticated animal including cattle has had its DNA researched to enhance the overall number of DNA tests for animals and the accuracy of such tests. The carriers of many diseases genes can now be detected in something akin to the genetic predisposition test for humans, although for animals these tests are specific to the animal and to the type of disease laboratory analysts look for. Such a test is done so as to avoid animals having that gene passing it one to their offspring. Animal DNA testing will constantly challenge new boundaries and may become standard practice for pet lover, breeders and vets.