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DNA Testing for Dogs

written by: •edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 6/22/2010

You are the proud owner of a new dog, but want to know more about it. DNA testing for dogs can provide important information about the new animals in your life. All you need is a DNA testing kit.

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    DNA Testing for Dogs and Happy Healthy Pet Adoptions

    Human DNA testing has a wide range of applications. It can be used to solve crimes, detect disease and resolve paternity issues. Pet DNA testing can be just as useful and animal lovers are finding out that it can fill in the missing blanks about a pet's background and history. The technology is particularly valuable in pet adoptions where owners have little or no knowledge about their new acquisitions.

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    Pet DNA testing

    A Labrador Retriever - image released under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 Pet DNA testing can be used to -

    • Determine an animal's breed and pedigree. Most people don't know the breed or genetic background of their pets, and it's been estimated that up to half of America's pet dogs come from mixed breeds. DNA testing can find out the breed composition of your pet pooch. A dog DNA test could be vital for a canine that has different breeds in its background. Once a vet knows its full history, medicine can be tailored to it should the animal become ill.

    • Provide accurate information about an animal if you decide to adopt a pet from an animal shelter.

    • Help find your pet if it is lost or stolen. Some private companies are offering DNA storage facilities, where for a fee, your animal's DNA profile can be kept.

    • Screen for inherited diseases. Dogs for example suffer from the highest number of genetic disorders of any non-human species.

    • Determine the sex of a pet bird.

    • To help solve crime. Just as human forensic samples are used by investigators to find a suspect, so can animal DNA be used in the hunt. For example, in one case that hit the headlines around the world, a woman was unable to identify the man who had attacked her, but told police that her dog had urinated on his truck. Eventually, when police located the suspect they found that a DNA sample on one of his tyres was a perfect match for the dog's DNA. It helped to secure his conviction. Animal forensics is now a rapidly growing scientific discipline.
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    How is a DNA Test Conducted?

    If you have adopted a pet and are concerned that you may be inflicting something dangerous upon the animal, there is actually no cause for alarm or anxiety. DNA tests are easy to perform and painless. Companies offering DNA testing services send out DNA testing kits with easy to follow instructions and guidelines as well as the relevant equipment.

    Collecting DNA typically involves taking a swab brush and rubbing it against the inside of your pet's cheek. This is then placed into a sample envelope and sent back in the mail to the company. They will have it analysed in a laboratory and the results should be ready within a few weeks. Depending on the animal, fur, feather, blood or hair samples may also be asked for.