Evolution in modern science has expanded in a way that we can determine the origin of our own bloodline down to its roots. However, did you know that you can actually have your own pets go under the same testing procedure to get their DNA profile checked?
You might wonder what the significant use of DNA profiling for pets. This is especially useful for prospective breeders and veterinarians to determine the likelihood of diseases that could potentially develop towards your pet. These DNA profiling tests are becoming an obligatory requirement nowadays in some parts of Europe and are slowly growing towards other neighboring nations. But how does the entire process work and is it safe for your precious canine and feline companions? All those questions and more will be answered in this article.
What is DNA Profiling?
The first thing that needs to be discussed is what DNA profiling is actually all about. It is apparent that every human is unique in their own way due to their fingerprints and appearance. However, every single living creature has its own “map” of genetic instructions that would determine the overall growth and identity of a person or animal. Those sets of genetic codes and instructions are what makes a creature individually unique compared to any of its counterparts.
This specific technique is done using an analysis of specific genetic markers in the DNA structure known as Short Tandem Repeats. These STRs (Short Tandem Repeats) are microsatellites that target specific DNA sequences that are widely distributed throughout the entirety of the subject’s genome.
The lengths of the genome and STRs can vary per creature and it is with those various lengths can we determine individual dogs or cats. In addition, this can determine the familial relationships between 2 creatures should it be needed. The microsatellites of 2 DNA samples that are biologically related should match, or at the very least be similar, to each other. Although, identical twins can have the exact same Short Tandem Repeats as their sibling. Thus, this process has been dubbed as genetic fingerprinting.
Why is DNA Profiling Important?
In humans, DNA profiling is crucial for solving crimes using forensic science or determining the parental responsibilities of prospective parents. However, this DNA profiling process is also vital towards various animals such as cats and dogs alongside some plants.
Pets are still living creatures that have their own unique set of DNA structures embedded into them. The DNA profiling process can help identify the various dogs and cats that are littered or lost in the streets. Genetic identity is better at determining whether a specific animal is considered a registered pet or just a stray that is wandering around.
This can also aid those who are seeking a purebred animal of their own. This test could determine the parentage verification of a certain pet which can help in solving the question of a dog or cat’s true breed. Most female dogs and cats tend to go through heat and would result in mating with random males when not observed properly. This ordeal could lead to an unwanted pregnancy. The DNA profiling test would help determine who the father of the female dog is and what breed they might come out as.
Do note that the profiling should not be used as a determinant for breeders to consider that the breed identification of their dog is set just from their DNA history alone. In addition, the information provided does not automatically predict an insight towards the dog’s potential inherited disorders.
How Does DNA Profiling Work?
There are 2 important ways of determining the DNA profile of any animal. You can either get a buccal swab sample or attempt a blood sample. The DNA samples received would then be tested and isolated to analyze the specific genetic markers needed to understand and create an official genetic profile.
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