Reasons to be wary of the ‘untamed wilderness’ of dog DNA tests


The claims that dog DNA-testing companies make can seem all but definitive: One quick cheek swab can not only tell you about the breeds that make up your pooch but also offer it a lifetime of health. …

But three canine genetics experts have hurled cold water on those claims, saying the business of consumer-marketed canine genetics testing is an “untamed wilderness” of weak science, unvalidated outcomes and conflicts of interest.

Their opinion piece, published last week in the journal Nature, says some dog owners are making decisions about euthanasia and serious veterinary treatments based on DNA tests that come with minimal warnings, vague details about tests and no government oversight. The paper calls for standards and guidelines that, the authors say, may need to become law to resolve the problems — especially as the field, with hundreds of thousands of dogs already being tested each year, continues to grow.

Related article:  Sequenced wheat genome will help scientists combat disease in earth's most widely-grown crop

The commentary sparked debate within the veterinary world. Several industry experts said they agreed with its general premise that there is a problem with the way dog DNA tests are marketed, but they defended what they called decades’ worth of science that has led to today’s tests — when that science is used, in their view, properly.

Read full original post: Don’t use dog DNA tests to make life-or-death decisions for your pet, experts warn

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