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Companion animal practice
DNA testing in companion animals – what is it and why do it?


Since the sequencing of the canine genome was completed in 2004, many mutations responsible for inherited disease in dogs have been identified. This, in turn, has led to the development of DNA tests for a wide range of inherited traits in dogs, and tests for genetic diseases in other companion species are also becoming available. With increasing emphasis being placed on improving the health of purebred dogs, DNA testing is likely to be an important tool for breeders to help them make the best breeding selections and, ultimately, eliminate inherited conditions. This article explains the principles of DNA testing and highlights the tests that are currently available commercially. While the article focuses on DNA testing in dogs, and provides an overview of the current situation in cats, the principles discussed are applicable to any species.

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