When Mars Petcare presented its first DNA test for dogs in 2007, you could only get the breed-mix blood-draw test from a vet. In 2009, they offered a saliva tests, and sold these “Wisdom Panel” tests directly to consumers. Since then, the direct mail market has grown rapidly. Dog-DNA companies are making breed mix and risk estimate tests readily available to the public.
Many vets have expressed concerns about the tests. They have three primary issues: no standards, no regulations, and no independent-assessing body.
The Project Director for the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs, Llewellyn-Zaidi, says, however, that vets are no starting to get curious about these tests.
The harmonization project is a database of dog genes that have been linked to different diseases among different breeds. Getting breeds right is critical because many markers are breed-specific.
The companies selling these DNA test kits are gathering huge genetic data sets that are and will contribute to future and on-going dog research. This will allow vets to have more scientific data from which to draw conclusions.