Local business cashing in by testing doggie DNA
Posted: July 3, 2008 04:12 PM CDT
By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- If you've ever been stumped by the question "What kind of dog is that?" here's a story for you.
Knoxville's BioPet Vet Lab showed us how their Breed Identification Kit works, using a mix breed named "Luke."
His owners found him outside their home last year. They had no idea where he came from or what kind of dog he might be, until they tested his DNA.
"This is something that is very new and very exciting to be involved in," says Kevin Jones, PhD. He's the Chief Scientific Officer for BioPet.
"People are dog lovers, especially in America," Jones says. "The response we're getting has just been unbelievable."
The at-home test takes less than a minute.
"All you have to do is swab the dog's cheek. Send that back to us and we run the test on that," Jones says.
The lab compares your dog's DNA to 61 different pure-breeds. You get the top matches, in order of relevance.
"Luke is a very interesting dog," Jones says. "We found out he was Chow Chow, Collie, Afghan Hound and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Now at first glance, that's a very unlikely combination of dogs, but when you actually meet Luke and start to look at him more closely, you see he's got a purple tongue. A purple tongue and the coloration and the fact he's got a nice curly tail are all characteristics of Chow."
"He shows the temperament of a herder, like a Collie. He does have a very long body for his size. Again, when we look at the Afghan Hounds or the Pembroke Welsh Corgi you see dogs that have got long bodies," Jones adds.
He says learning your dog's ancestry can also put you on the look-out for breed-specific medical problems.
"It's not just knowing you've got a mix of Yorkie, Chihuahua, Great Dane, whatever's present. It's that you also know that the dog might suffer from hip dysplasia, that it might suffer from ear infections, that there may be eye problems," Jones says.
There are several different test kits on the market and they range in price. The one from BioPet is about $60 and you can find it on the Internet and in some stores and vet offices.
The lab says results usually take about a week. They've tested dogs from all over the U.S. and even some internationally.
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Bless the Bullys