You’ve probably seen advertising for DNA testing by companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and a number of other top-notch genetic testing companies. However, did you know that there are also DNA tests available for your pets?
This article explores the basics of pet DNA testing. First, we’ll take a look at how it works and what kind of results you can expect. Then, we will explore the differences between the animal and human DNA test, the expected costs, and discuss the overall value of the animal DNA test.
How Does It Work?
Animal DNA tests work just like human DNA tests! The company from which you order a test will send you a sample collection kit, which is typically a cheek swab. Dab the inside of your pet’s cheek, put the sample in the return bag and send it to the laboratory. In a few weeks, you’ll receive the DNA test results from the company. The process is painless for your dog or cat, and should take only a few minutes of your time.
What Can You Learn?
Like human genetic testing, pet DNA tests offer both ancestor testing and genetic testing on health. Several services offer a” breed composition ” service, which can help you identify the breeds your dog consists of. Other services allow you to find live relatives of your dog on their platform, very similar to the family search service of many ancestor DNA testing companies. In addition, most companies allow you to explore genetic variants that may be related to diseases or degenerative health conditions. Beware, an important complaint with “mutts” is that they are too mixed to get specific breed results to get.
Depending on which company you order the test through, a number of genetic health options are available. Some companies test for specific diseases, while other companies test the entire genome for genetic variants that can be harmful. Some companies have race specific tests, while others will test any race. As a warning, many genetic diseases are breed-specific, and science does not understand how these variants work in other breeds. A company also allows owners the ability to test DNA found in feces in order to enforce pet waste laws. However, before you dive into the animal DNA test, there are some serious differences between human and animal DNA tests that you should be aware of.
The Difference Between Human and Animal DNA Testing
First of all, you should know that animal DNA tests are not regulated or controlled by the FDA. Human DNA tests must meet certain standards, and not market information that they cannot scientifically confirm. This is not necessarily true for animal DNA tests. However, the lack of regulation and scientific rigour was noted by leading geneticists and veterinarians.
But, the international collaboration for the health and well-being of Dogs has launched a program called the harmonization of genetic testing for dogs. Through this site, you can find a number of tests that have been checked and approved by a group of geneticists and veterinarians.
Unfortunately, animal DNA tests suffer from it in other ways. While genetic testing is a powerful tool, it is only as powerful as the data set being analyzed. Pet DNA databases are much smaller than human databases, which makes them less reliable (and it’s not like all human DNA tests are). Another big problem with testing the DNA of pets is that veterinarians have not been trained long in genetics.
With the rapid expansion of methods, techniques and analysis of DNA data, this makes it almost impossible for the average veterinarian to know whether the DNA test ordered by you is accurate and reliable. But, on the other hand, many human doctors are tormented by the same problem. Doctors and veterinarians hate both when their patients ask to act on a DNA test that they do not fully understand and have not checked themselves. To combat this, many veterinarians are collaborating with genetic testing companies that claim to offer DNA testing. If health is your concern, you should consult your veterinarian before buying a DNA test online.
How Much Is It?
This varies greatly depending on the company and the services provided. Below are the prices of several major pet DNA testing companies, both for dogs and cats. Look at them!
- Embark – Breed composition, Genetic Health $ 199
- Wisdom Panel- Breed composition, Genetic Health $ 80 – $ 150
- DNA my Dog – Breed composition, Genetic Health $ 70
- Basepaws-Ancestor. (Health and wellness in development) $ 99
- MyCatDNA – health and treats € 99
But is it Worth it for an Animal DNA Test?
Considering the price of these pet DNA tests is equal to or greater than many human DNA tests, the price currently does not reflect the value of these tests. The human DNA test is much more reliable and is based on a much larger body of scientific evidence. So, there are only two reasons to order an animal DNA test. The first one’s on the vet’s orders. If your veterinarian thinks it would be prudent to better understand your animal’S DNA and have a preferred test, it’s probably a good idea.
The second reason is for fun! Genetic testing, although still in its infancy, is incredibly interesting. You can learn something interesting about your pet, or find his relatives through the test. While you should take the results with a grain of salt, it is still fun and beneficial to learn about the genetic variants that your animal can bring. If you can justify the price for some fun, do it! It’s harmless to your pet, and you might learn something interesting.