How to choose a suitable DNA test for animal genetics?

DNA tests in animal genetics have become valuable tools for pet owners, breeders, and veterinarians. Whether you're looking to determine the breed composition of your dog, screen for genetic diseases in your pets, or confirm parentage in a breeding program, choosing the right DNA test is crucial. However, with an increasing variety of tests available on the market, making an informed choice can be challenging. This article explores the essential steps and criteria to consider when choosing a suitable DNA test in animal genetics.

Define the test objective

The first step in choosing a DNA test is to clearly define the purpose of your inquiry. Here are some common reasons DNA tests are used in animal genetics:

  • Breed identification: To determine the breed composition of a pet, particularly useful for mixed-breed dogs and cats.
  • Genetic health tests: To identify genetic predispositions to specific diseases or conditions.
  • Parentage verification: To confirm parentage links, essential for breeders to maintain line purity.
  • Physical characteristics: To predict physical traits such as coat color or size.
  • Behavior and temperament: To anticipate behavioral tendencies based on genetics.

Choose a reputable laboratory

Not all laboratories are equal. It's important to choose a reputable laboratory specialized in animal genetics. Here are some criteria to check:

  • Accreditation: Ensure the laboratory is accredited by internationally recognized bodies.
  • Reputation: Look for customer reviews and testimonials from other users to assess the reliability of the laboratory.
  • Scientific publications: Laboratories involved in scientific research and with publications in peer-reviewed journals are often more reliable.

Available test types

There are several types of DNA tests for animals, each with its own specificities. Here are the main types of tests you may consider:

  • Breed tests: These tests determine the breeds present in your animal's genetic heritage. They are particularly popular for mixed-breed dogs and cats.
  • Genetic health tests: These tests detect genetic mutations associated with specific diseases, aiding in prevention and early treatment.
  • Parentage tests: Used to confirm parentage links between animals, these tests are essential for breeders.
  • Physical trait tests: Predictive of specific physical characteristics such as coat color, size, etc.
  • Behavior tests: Some tests can predict behavioral traits based on genetics.

Reliability and accuracy

The accuracy of DNA tests can vary. Therefore, it's important to choose tests using advanced technologies for reliable results. Here's what you should look for:

  • Technology: Tests using advanced techniques like next-generation sequencing (NGS) are often more accurate.
  • Reference database: A large reference database allows for more precise comparisons and therefore more reliable results.
  • Scientific validation: Ensure tests are scientifically validated and regularly updated.

Cost and value for money

The cost of DNA tests can vary considerably. It's important to compare prices while considering the quality and reliability of the tests offered:

  • Test packages: Some laboratories offer packages combining multiple test types at a discounted price.
  • Additional fees: Be mindful of hidden fees for shipping, follow-up consultations, or additional tests.

Customer service and support

Good customer service is essential, especially for understanding results and getting advice on actions to take based on test results:

  • Technical support: Check the availability of technical support to help interpret results.
  • Veterinary advice: Some laboratories offer consultations with veterinarians to discuss the implications of the results.

Ethics and confidentiality

Confidentiality and ethical standards must be upheld. Your data and that of your animal must be protected:

  • Data confidentiality: Ensure the laboratory guarantees the confidentiality of results and genetic data.
  • Informed consent: Verify that the laboratory obtains informed consent before using samples for further research.


Choosing a suitable DNA test in animal genetics requires careful consideration of your objectives, thorough research of available laboratories, and particular attention to accuracy, reliability, and ethics. By following these steps, you can select a test that best meets your needs and provides valuable insights into your animal's genetics. Whether you're a curious pet owner interested in your pet's origins, a breeder concerned about line purity, or a veterinarian looking to prevent genetic diseases, a good choice of DNA test can offer invaluable insights.