Recent advances in the field of genetic testing mean that today it is possible to carry out animal DNA tests. The article mainly focuses on cat DNA testing but the DNA testing procedure for cats is much the same for all animals. Given the profound love many of us have for our pets and the interest breeders have in good pedigrees whose off spring is free of genetic diseases, the popularity of this genetic test comes as no surprise.
The range of pets normally included in such tests are dogs and birds, though of course, as scientists continue to learn more about the DNA of different animals, one will be able to test almost any pet. Dog DNA testing is especially useful to confirm the breeds in mongrels and this test is increasingly popular as dog owner’s scientifically want to establish the main breed or breeds of their dog. It is not always easy or accurate to make generalisation based upon the physiological charateristics of the dog.
A Few Words on Cat DNA testing
Cats, venerated by the Egyptians and the most popular pet in the world, are just like humans susceptible to a number of genetic conditions. However, feline DNA testing can now mean that you can detect polycystic kidney disease in your Persian cat. The condition is rather complex and results in a proliferation of cysts on the cat’s kidneys and after many years can results in kidney failure. Given the incidence rate, around 37% of Persian cats, an animal DNA test to detect such a condition could greatly aid in helping the cat in the early stages and moreover, for cat breeders, it could pre-empt mating a cat that is predisposed with the condition with a cat that is clear of it; polycystic kidney disease gene is dominant and around half the offspring will likely have the condition.
DNA testing on our feline friends means that today you can also trace their parentage. You can carry out a DNA test with the alleged sire or dam of your cat. This is again an important step in terms of pedigree as true pedigree requires a known, traceable ancestry. It may also be important in terms of mating and deciding which cat to mate with which.
How is DNA testing with Pets carried out?
Human DNA and animal DNA is not all that different. The laboratories carrying out animal testing will require a buccal swab of your dog or cat’s saliva. They will provide swabs in an easy-to-use kit. Rubbing the swabs the mouth will collect cheek cells from your pet. The laboratory will then locate specific genetic markers and determine your cat’s parentage. In the case of autoimmune diseases, the analysts will look for the specific mutations on the genes that spell out whether the pet is predisposed to the disease.
Animal DNA testing will in much the same way as human DNA testing, challenge new boundaries and provide us with invaluable information about the pets we so much love. Breeders, pet lovers, vets, these are all parties with an interest in this new field of genetic testing. Cat DNA testing has a growing range of uses beyond the ones mentioned here; of course fur colour is probably one of the most sought after DNA tests and as time goes by more and more tests will be available.