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« Edmonton, AL repeals law targeting 'pit bulls' | Main | Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 10/21/12 »

October 18, 2012

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Lisa (Hospets)

we have DNA'd a couple (bsl issues) both were Mars Wisdom Panel. I thought the results were good, the highest percentage of breed DNA in both dogs was exactly what I would have guessed based on "my" visual ID which was different than the visual ID of animal control

Michelle

Oh gosh now you're really tempting me to put out the money to try this. I've been dying to know what my dog really is.

Selma

I'll want to read the actual study, but these results don't surprise me. With purebreds, they are fairly accurate.

Is Mars now saying they have 90% accuracy with mixed breeds? Previously, they said they had about 80% accuracy with F1s, so if true, they've made a lot of progress (without any scientific studies being made available).

Who said Rat terriers and JRTs are similar? They are separate breeds from different countries. Aussie shepherds are from California, Border collies originate in Scotland, both are separate breeds. I would call it a stretch to say those results were accurate. Because then you'd have to say that Dalmatian and Bull terrier are similar, since the Dal is reportedly one of the ancestors of the BT.

I'd like to think these tests would get better, since they seem to be catching on with the shelter set and others who know little about breeds of dogs. Be careful what you wish for, people.

Brent

Selma -- obviously JRTs and Rat Terriers are separate breeds -- but their breed markings in the DNA study are similar (which makes sense). Same for Australian Shepherds and Border Collies. Different breeds, but similar DNA markers.

Jack Russells are apparently even more problematic for the markers because they aren't recognized by the AKC, the breed markers are less precise than other breeds which have more consistent gene pools. This passes the logic test.

I know why there are many concerned about the beed ID tests....but I don't really fear more knowledge. It's ignorance that I'm more afraid of.

Selma

OK, so we don't know if the Jack Russell is actually a JRT since he was registered by the Cont KC. Could be anything, including Rat terrier.

AKC recognizes the Parson Russell terrier, by the way, just not the other type which we used to call Jack Daniels.

I note that they were testing F1s where they mention the 90% accuracy.

So really, only the Beagle one was partly accurate and of course, the purebred Poodle.

And Mars isn't making any wild claims of accuracy either, their language is very guarded, which I appreciate.

Lis Carey

Border collies were an important part of the foundation stock for Aussies. Rat terriers developed out of a mix of small terrier types. The tests look for genetic markers, wjich don't always distinguish between superficial differences of closley related breeds.

Selma

I'm not worried about the tests being accurate, I wish they were because up here, trust me, there wouldn't be more than a handful of "pit bulls" and we could save lots of dogs.

I'm concerned that claims are being made that aren't backed up by any meaningful research.

So when they say they will identify the 'breeds' in your mongrel dog, that's what I expect them to do. Not to identify dogs that may be somewhere in the ancestry of the breed, or that may look a bit like the breed or may be from the same group, or only if they are F1s. The actual breed makeup.

Until they can do that, I will continue to regard these tests as fun and nothing more. Until they can do that, they should say clearly that they can't identify most breeds in a mixed breed dog's makeup but can give an indication of type a certain percentage of the time based on actual controlled tests.

Selma

I just read the article again to see if I'd missed something. Overall, it's fairly detailed.

Here's an excerpt which puts things into perspective:

Bell, the veterinary geneticist at Tufts, said the commercial tests should not be confused with highly accurate medical diagnostic genetic tests.

"A mixed-breed ancestry test is a non-diagnostic novelty test that is consumer-driven," he said. "The science of these tests can be compared to trying to deconstruct the ingredients of a complicated recipe – maybe there’s some of this, or maybe some of that. While we would like it to be as accurate as possible, no medical decisions are going to be based on it. For the consumer, it is probably more important that they are happy with the results than their exactness.”

The day they perfect these tests, ie, get them to a regular accuracy of over 95%, I'll be the first in line to try them out.

Kelsey/Team Unruly

My dog is a 65-lb black and tan SuperMutt of unknown parentage. The shelter she came from called her an Airedale mix; most dog people visually peg her as a badly bred Giant Schnauzer. I had her tested with Wisdom Panel (just for fun) and her 'family tree'-style results results just listed 'mixed breed' on everything through the great-great grandparent level (where they showed traces of miniature bull terrier and malamute). It was sort of charming to see Mars basically throwing up their hands at any attempt to identify her, and I guess it kind of serves me right that I paid eighty bucks to find out she's a mutt (which I knew!)

Brent

I love the Supermutts -- one of a kind designer dogs created just for you.

Julie Jones

I sent your articles links to all my contacts and they all love it including me.
Click here

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