Parentage DNA tests, DNA profiling, genetic predisposition tests, allergy testing – there are many who think that these tests can only be carried out on humans. They are wrong. Recent advances in the field of DNA analysis have opened the door to genetic screening and testing for animals. You can now choose from a variety of canine, feline, equine and avian tests available in the market.
What is required for an Animal DNA Test?
Animal DNA testing kits are designed to make the sample collection process as simple as possible and provide the kit user with detailed, step-by-step instructions. You do not need to visit a veterinarian in order to conduct the test. The following DNA test kits can be easily delivered to your doorstep and performed at your home. It does not matter if you are an amateur pet lover or a trained veterinarian, these testing services can help you answer all your questions.
Finding more about your Pooch – Dog DNA Testing
Establishing the number of pet dogs worldwide is a challenging task. However, recent studies have estimated that the global pet dog population is around 900 million, with over 73 million dogs in the United States, around 43 million in Europe, 32 million in India and approximately 110 million in China (Atitwa, 2018). With so many families and households owning dogs, it comes as no surprise that DNA testing services for dogs are becoming more and more popular.
One of the most popular Canine DNA tests is Dog Parentage testing. Using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), scientists at the laboratory analyse 21 genetic markers or more from the DNA of the dog to achieve maximum accuracy. Once the DNA profile is extracted, it is then compared with the profile obtained from the parent’s sample to establish if the biological relationship is close enough to confirm a parent-offspring relationship.
Dog Allergy testing is used by dog owners just like you to find out what exactly is causing their dog’s allergies. A Canine Allergy test not only identifies the allergens that are triggering your dog’s allergic reactions but provides important information such as guidelines on which household products, foods, treats and supplements to avoid at all costs.
You can also discover the breed composition of your mixed-breed dog through a Dog Breed test. In this test, the dog’s sample is used to analyse their genetic makeup and identify the different breeds they are made up of. Additional information based on the individual breeds of the dog, such as traits and exercise routines, is usually also provided. Just like humans, personality traits tend to vary from one dog to another. It is interesting to note that their personality type is mostly defined by which of the seven main dog breed categories they fall under (Ollila, 2019).
To find out the biological age of your dog, you can opt for a Genetic Age DNA test kit. DNA My Dog’s Genetic Age test is the first commercially available test on the market that uses telomeres to pinpoint your dog’s genetic age. Genetic age is different than chronological or actual age since it provides insight into the predicted longevity and health of the canine. This test can help you to find out the former.
DNA testing not only helps you discover more about and bond with your four-legged friend, but it also positively influences their health and well-being. Other canine tests such as the Inherited Disease test are also considered as resourceful tools through which you can take better care of your dog. Read more about all the things you can discover with dog DNA testing!
Decoding your Feline’s Genetics – Cat DNA Testing
Feline DNA tests can tell you a lot about your furry companions. Cat DNA testing companies such as Basepaws offer a Cat Genetics service which studies your feline’s genetic makeup to evince details on their ancestry, breed groups, health markers and similarity to wild cats. What is so unique about this particular test is that your cat’s results will continue being updated as the company adds new features, breeds, traits and health markers.
However, if you are solely concerned about your kitten’s health, a Cat Inherited Disease test kit can prove to be really helpful, especially before breeding or adopting a cat. Some inherited diseases are more common in certain cat breeds than others. A good example is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), an inherited condition which is prevalent in Persian cats and related breeds. In the past, it is estimated that around 50% of Persian cats may have been affected by this disease, which leads to chronic kidney disease or premature death (International Cat Care, 2017). Initially, cats with PKD were identified by ultrasound scanning of their kidneys, but now Feline PKD testing can detect whether your cat carries the gene associated with Polycystic Kidney Disease even before the disease has set.
Managing your Mount – Equine DNA Testing
Determining a relationship, parentage or lineage of a horse can be easily done with current DNA testing techniques. The process behind it involves the analysis of the alleles that the parent horse passes on to their offspring. Equine parentage testing is essential for horse breeders who manage any type of horse breeding program. Nowadays, the more rigorous breed registries require DNA testing for registration to assure the authenticity of parentage (Kilby, 2007).
To get a unique form of identification for your horse, you can get the mount tested through Equine DNA Profiling. The horse’s DNA profile is a genetic fingerprint that can be used to identify them with 100% accuracy should the need arise. Results for this test come to rescue if your horse gets stolen or lost!
You can also be proactive with your horse’s health by using a Horse Inherited Disease test kit. Unfortunately, genetic conditions cause problems that may be easily managed or so severe that the affected horse has to be euthanized. When a horse with a mutated gene is bred to a healthy horse, there is a 50 percent chance that the offspring develops the disease (Meszoly, 2007). Inherited Disease testing establishes whether your horse carries any disease-carrying genes so that you may refrain from breeding them to avoid passing unwanted traits to their foals.
Nowadays, companies provide Horse DNA testing kits which will enable you to easily collect the sample, which is usually hair, from the equine. In the kit, you will also find instructions on how to take your samples and where to ship them back to.
Identifying your Bird’s Sex – Avian DNA Testing
It is often difficult to determine the sex of a bird by merely looking at it as male and female birds do not always have visible characteristics that enable a distinction between the two. Avian DNA testing can be used to establish the gender of your feathered friend. The DNA required for this type of testing is usually extracted from either plucked feathers or a blood sample. By knowing the gender, you will be prepared for the eventual changes the bird will go through as they mature.
Using an Animal DNA Test
Animal DNA testing is being used by many pet owners, breeders and veterinarians to strengthen their bond with the animal, discover hidden traits and confirm or exclude diagnoses respectively. Recent advances in Animal DNA testing for the past few years are providing our companions with an improved lifestyle, health and longevity. With ongoing research being conducted in this field, it is likely that in the nearby future, our reptile and arachnid friends will also have DNA tests of their own!
Atitwa, S. (2018). How Many Dogs Are There In The World? [online] WorldAtlas. Available at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/how-many-dogs-are-there-in-the-world.html [Accessed 29 August 2019].
International Cat Care. (2017). Inherited disorders in cats. [online] Available at: https://icatcare.org/advice/cat-breeds/inherited-disorders-cats [Accessed 29 Aug. 2019].
Kilby, E. (2007). The Demographics of the U.S. EquinePopulation. [pdf] Washington, DC: Humane Society Press, p.180. Available at: http://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/hsp/soaiv_07_ch10.pdf [Accessed 29 Aug. 2019].
Meszoly, J. (2007). How horses Inherit Genetic Diseases. [online] EQUUS. Available at: https://equusmagazine.com/diseases/geneticdiseases_011207-8292 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2019].
Ollila, E. (2019). How Dog Personalities Vary Based on Breed | Hill’s Pet. [online] Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Available at: https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/behavior-appearance/how-dog-personalities-vary-based-on-breed [Accessed 29 Aug. 2019].