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dna testing for pets: genomics goes to the dogs

by Neoteryx | 2 min read

shutterstock_603117671.jpgWatson and Crick may have had little notion, when they discovered the double helix structure of DNA, how far that molecule would go. In 1985, the uniqueness of each individual's DNA led a British forensic scientist to the identity of a murderer and DNA testing was born. Now the tests are available to anyone. Genetic disorders are the major concerns driving the upsurge in DNA testing. Hundreds of hereditary diseases can be detected and possibly avoided. But you can also find out if that family legend of an Apache ancestor is true.

Now, you can have your pet tested as well. Most people don't particularly care where their dog or cat came from. They love their furry (or feathered) friends for what they are. However, many people may be concerned about hereditary diseases and conditions, such as epilepsy and hip dysplasia. Vet diagnostics can provide those answers. Others may be concerned about the parentage of purebred animals. Some dog owners may test a puppy to get an estimate on how big it will become. Service dogs and emotional support animals can be registered through DNA footprints. Apartment and condominium complexes are starting to require DNA testing for all dogs and banning certain breeds.

Breeders of purebred animals do a lot of DNA testing because DNA can reveal traits as well as disease.


  • Genetic disorders
  • Coat color and pattern - breeders can match parents to get the colors and patterns they want.
  • Long hair vs short hair


  • Genetic disorders
  • Coat color and pattern
  • Long hair vs short hair


  • Sexing - Gender determination in birds can be impossible by observation alone. Males and females in many species are indistinguishable.
  • Genetic disorders
  • Feather color and pattern


  • Genetic disorders
  • Gait - Gaits such as pacing and trotting are hereditary in some breeds, especially Standardbred horses used in harness racing where breaking into a gallop disqualifies you. The Peruvian Paso Fino has a unique gait. If the animal lacks that gait, its value is greatly reduced.

Vet diagnostics can provide peace of mind to pet owners or help them prepare if a disorder is found.

There is even a laboratory that will identify the dog that left its poop on your lawn. All you have to do is get swabs of every dog in the neighborhood.

Originally published Aug 8, 2017 4:46:00 AM, updated on May 24, 2018


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