Genes are what make us who we are, they are the building blocks of pretty much every organic living thing in the world. Genes are basically segments of nucleotides that are strung together to form DNA. These nucleotides contain information that is then interpreted into the organic structures that we recognize in the world around us. They dictate the shape and functionality of the cells that govern our bodies. The genes form DNA, and long strands of DNA form chromosomes.
It might surprise you to know that dogs actually have more chromosomes than human beings. We have forty six, whereas dogs have seventy eight. These seventy eight chromosomes contain thousands of genes, with the number nearing about twenty five thousand in general.
A group of chromosomes come together to form a genome, which basically contains all of the genetic material present in each cell. If we want to understand an organism, we first need to sequence its genome. In 2005, research that was conducted by the Broad Institute at MIT described the process of sequencing the genomes present within dogs. The successful sequencing of the genome opened up a whole new world of knowledge regarding dogs. As a pet owner, this is important information because of the fact that it can allow you to understand the needs of your dog in a much more significant manner.
MIT’s research focused on a female boxer dog by the name of Tasha. Her gene sequence allowed the people conducting the research to identify errant genes that lead to diseases in the canine population. Parentage can also be better ascertained after the understanding of the canine genome, something that’ll be of particular importance to breeders. Gene testing offers a lot of advantage to pet owners. Discussed below are some of the more pertinent advantages.
Ascertaining The Pedigree of a Dog
If you want to know whether or not the dog that you have gotten is a true pedigree, gene testing can help you a great deal. This will allow you to ascertain the parentage of a dog. Pedigree dogs cost a lot of money, and they form the crux of a very lucrative industry. Fakes are present pretty much everywhere, and the industry along with consumers interested in the services of said industry have often struggled to truly ensure that true pedigrees are sold. Gene testing can help solve this problem in a big way, although the gene testing that confirms parentage only looks at the gene sequence as a whole and does not get into the important details that could help you ascertain potential congenital diseases and the like.
Ensure Pet Waste Collection
Thanks to gene testing, a system can be created whereby people would register their dogs with a single authority or agency and provide DNA samples that would logged in said registry. If pet waste is discovered in a certain area, the owner of the offending pet can be determined. All that would need to be done is that cells would have to be extracted after which they could be tested to see if any of the registered owners pop up. If a match is made, the owner can then be penalized accordingly. This would help enforce pet waste laws. After a period of trial and error, the rate of owners that don’t clean up after their pets will increase drastically.
Making Mixed Breed Origins Clearer
If you do more than just look at the overall gene sequence, you can figure out specific breeds that a particular dog originated from. If you own a dog, not knowing what breed it is could be a problem because each breed needs to be treated in a different way. Things like managing your dog’s health and training it to perform various tasks will all need to be approached according to a dog’s breed, so gene testing can make this process a lot simpler as well. Dogs with certain genetic backgrounds are also found to be more suitable to particular tasks such as search and rescue or drug sniffing. Gene testing can help find dogs perfect for these jobs.
Improve Dog Health By Finding Disease Genes
Breeding helps make beautiful, easy to train dogs, but the constant inbreeding could potentially result in problematic alleles propagating. For example, if a dog is genetically disposed to a specific disease and it mates with a dog with a breed that is close to its own then this gene is going to be more likely to activate over the course of a dog’s life. Gene testing can help breeders weed out dogs that are predisposed to diseases so that they are not used in the breeding process. This can also help lower the rates of diseases occurring in the first place, thus resulting in the overall dog population becoming a lot healthier. Over time, these diseases could potentially even be eradicated entirely.
Ascertain Unique Traits
It’s quite common for someone to buy a puppy based on how it looks only to be disappointed by how it turned out as it got older. Using gene testing, breeders and owners can find hidden traits that would show up later on in the dog’s life. This can help you prepare for your dog’s adulthood and ensure that you only get the kind of dog that you truly want. It can also ensure that you give your dog the best life possible.
How to Get a Dog DNA Test
You probably want to get the best dog DNA test available so that you can be confident that the results are accurate. There are a number of companies that can test your dog’s DNA, although it is recommended that you get blood drawn yourself by a veterinarian that you trust. A lot of tests might not require a blood sample, though. A buccal swab will do just fine here. Make sure you ask the test providers about what DNA they need so that you can prepare accordingly.