Q: What sample do I need to
send in for the ADVANCE® Mixed Breed Identification DNA
A: 0.5ml (minimum) EDTA Blood Tube
Q: Why does the ADVANCE Mixed
Breed Identification DNA Test require a blood sample? Can we not
use a cheek swab?
A: Adequate quantity of high-quality
DNA is required. DNA of this quality and quantity can only be
obtained from a small blood sample, which can easily be collected
during a routine veterinary visit. DNA from blood is considered
superior to cheek swab samples in both stability and purity.
Q: How do I get the sample to
A: The ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test contains all the details you need to get
the sample transported to the laboratory. It includes a postage
paid package and Australia Post approved packaging to transport the
Q: Does the blood sample need
to be refrigerated?
A: DNA is stable at room temperature,
it is preferable that once you collect the blood sample you post it
to the laboratory as soon as possible. If storing the sample before
posting, you can store it at 4°C.
Q: How long will it take to
get results back?
A: All ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Tests are sent to the Mars US laboratory for
analysis. Once the sample has been received at the lab it generally
takes up to three weeks for the sample to be tested and for the
results and report to be generated. Results will be sent directly
to your veterinarian. You can track your sample using your sample
ID and surname at www.advancepet.com.au/DNA
Q: Can I have results faxed to
A: The ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test is a coloured, customised report which
includes information on breed, health and nutrition facts. It can
only be downloaded as a PDF and the electronic reporting system
does not have the ability to deliver reports via fax.
Q: Are we able to
discuss/query the results with a scientist locally?
A: ADVANCE has trained representatives
who can clarify any information on results. We also have access to
all raw data which can be provided to any clinic upon request. If
you require details on more scientific issues, the ADVANCE Customer
Enquiries team can direct you to our geneticist to further clarify
Q: Why are the samples sent to
the US for testing?
A: All the testing for the MARS DNA
Breed test - US, UK, Canada and Australia - is carried out in the
Mars laboratory in the US. It allows for efficiency and ability to
run and analyse data in the one accredited facility.
Q: My dog's results have come
back on the breeds detected are nothing like what my dog looks
A: Physical appearance is controlled
by a very small number of genes. These genes can have both
recessive and dominant variants and the variant that is present
determines the visible effect on physical traits seen. The presence
of breed signatures does not guarantee that the dog will look like
all detected breeds - the wonder of genetic inheritance can be seen
as much in people as in dogs.
Q: Can ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test be used for a purebred dog?
A: ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification
DNA Test is intended for use on dogs that are mixed breed to help
determine their breed history. The test is specifically designed to
look for the combination of ancestral breeds in mixed breed dogs.
Where pure breed dogs are concerned, most often the report will
simply indicate the pure strain of the breed in question. However,
although our sample database covers 200+ breeds and comprises more
than 10,000 samples in total, there are several cases in which pure
breed dogs may not be reported as such. For instance, if the breed
is not or was not bred within Australia, then we may not pick up
the breed signature, as foreign lines often have very different
genetic signatures. In addition, if there has been a very isolated
breeding line for the pure breed, then we may not have enough
coverage of that breed's gene pool to identify the dog as
Q: Can I perform the ADVANCE
Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test on puppies?
A: Yes, the ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test is designed for dogs of all ages. Please
note that care should be taken when taking blood from young
Q: Can you test for
A: Our Wisdom Panel DNA tests were
developed using genetic markers specific for dogs. These tests were
not intended to test Dingo DNA and this species is not included in
the database of dog breeds.
Q: Do you test for
A: The term Pit-Bull does not refer to
a single or recognised breed of dog, but rather to a genetically
diverse group of breeds. Due to the genetic diversity of this
group, we can not build a DNA profile for the Pit-bull.
Q: Do you provide proof of
A: Unfortunately, at this time we do
not offer proof of parentage.
Q: Does your test denote which
parent is the mother and father?
A: Our test is not able to determine
which parent is the father or the mother at this time.
Q: My dog just died can I
still do a DNA test?
A: We do not recommend trying to take
a sample from a deceased dog, whatever the circumstance, as the
quality of the sample will likely be unusable for our test
Q: What is the relationship
between the ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test and the
Wisdom Panel Professional Mixed Breed Identification
A: The ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test has been adapted from the Wisdom Panel
Professional Mixed-Breed Identification test for use on Australian
dogs. The Wisdom Panel Professional test is the result of years of
extensive research and draws on the expertise of scientists at the
internationally respected Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the
United Kingdom, along with leading veterinarians, universities and
breed organisations throughout the world. For more information on
the Wisdom Panel test, see http://www.wisdompanelpro.com/faq.html.
The Wisdom Panel Professional test has been supplemented for use
in Australia to add additional breeds to the breed database
(including the Maremma Sheepdog, Koolie, Kelpie, Stumpy Tail Cattle
Dog and Tenterfield Terrior) which underpins the test. In addition,
work has been done to ensure that apart from these
Australia-specific breeds, the genetic signatures of Australian
dogs are largely consistent with the signatures of the same breeds
in the US and UK which formed the basis of the Wisdom Panel
Professional test. The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test
is the result of this work.
Q: How accurate is the ADVANCE
Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test?
A: The Wisdom Panel Professional test
which underpins the ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test
(see above) has undergone validation testing in the USA. That
testing showed that the Wisdom Panel Professional test has a
Sensitivity of 97% and a Positive Predictive Value of 90% in
first-generation US crossbred dogs of known parentage. The breeds
included in the panel for the Wisdom Panel validation study
represented 45% of American Kennel Club registrations. Breeds
detected at the lowest level of certainty were not included in the
Modelling and research regarding the similarity between
Australian and US / UK breeds (see above) indicates that the
ADVANCE® Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test is likely
to have a similar accuracy to the Wisdom Panel Professional test,
however validation studies have not yet been performed to test the
accuracy of the ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test on
It is also important to note that test accuracy will differ from
one dog to the next, and may be higher or lower than average for an
individual dog, depending on:
- the breeds which form part of the
mixed-breed dog's heritage;
- the geographic background of the dog;
- the complexity of the dog's "family
tree", including whether it is a first, second, third or later
generation mixed-breed. For example, ancestors in a dog's lineage
at the great-grandparent level and beyond may in some cases be
identified only at the lower limits of detection capability, which
may introduce inaccuracies.
Despite these limitations, we are confident that we offer one of
the most sophisticated and accurate tests on the market.
Science Based Questions
Q: Is the breed detection
analysis at all similar to the kind of DNA analysis people can
undergo to find out their deep ancestry? Does mitochondrial DNA or
Y-chromosome DNA come into play in the analysis? If so, how? If
not, then how are the 321 genetic markers determined?
A: The ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test has some technological similarities to the
DNA analysis that people use to determine their deep ancestry but
there are major differences in what the different analyses are
looking for. The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test is
designed to detect the presence of purebred dogs in the most recent
ancestry of a mixed-breed dog (ideally the Great Grandparent,
Grandparent or Parental level), whereas most human ancestry tests
are designed to detect the proportion of the tested individual that
comes from historical racial or defined population groups.
The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test only uses what
are called autosomal DNA markers, chromosomes that contain most of
the genetic instructions for every canine's body make up (height,
weight, size etc.). There are no markers from either the so-called
sex chromosomes (the canine X or Y chromosomes). Mitochondrial DNA,
or Y-chromosome DNA testing, is rather different as these parts of
the genome are passed on intact from mother to daughter and father
to son respectively, but are therefore only representative of
either the female or the male lineage. Autosomal DNA is inherited
both from the maternal and paternal lineages equally and constantly
shuffled by a process called recombination at each successive
generation, and therefore is able to give useful information on the
breeds found on both sides of a dog's lineage.
To find the genetic markers that performed best at
distinguishing between breeds, Mars Veterinary tested over 4,600
SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms or genetic markers, where
genetic variation has been found between different dogs), from
positions across the whole canine Autosomal genome from over 3,200
dogs. To further refine the search, Mars Veterinary determined the
best 1,536 genetic variations and ran them against an additional
4,400 dogs from a wide range of breeds. This stage of testing
resulted in the selection of the final panel of DNA markers that
performed best at distinguishing between breeds, ultimately
creating the the ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test
Q: Do breed signatures differ
from commonly understood notions of recessive and dominant genes?
That is, it seems that the presence of a breed signature doesn't
necessarily imply a physical appearance?
A: Physical appearance (predominantly
determined by genes that influence the development of canine size
and body mass, coat length, type and color, skull shape, leg
length, ear and tail types), are known to be controlled by a very
small number of genes relative to the number of genes contained in
the canine genome (~20,000 or so in total). These genes can have
both recessive and dominant variants and the variant that is
present determines the visible effect on physical traits seen.
The presence of breed signatures does not guarantee that the dog
will look like all detected breeds - the wonder of genetic
inheritance and can be seen as much in people as in dogs.
The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test signatures are
defined by markers that are consistent with the presence of a
particular breed in the background of a tested dog, but were not
chosen to specifically cover the genes responsible for specific
trait determination from those breeds - many parts of the genome
are likely to be unobservable with regard to trait determination.
This can happen for any number of trait-determining genes.
Therefore, a mixed-breed dog could be a mix of three or four breeds
but have few traits evident from one or more of these breeds. There
are two good examples of how this can happen. The first is eye
color in humans. Brown is dominant over blue and green, and yet, a
brown-eyed mother can have a green-eyed son if the dominant brown
eye color variant is not passed on. The second, and perhaps best,
illustration of the surprising effects you may see when mixing
breeds is to study some designer dogs (e.g. puggles, cocker-poos,
etc.), which are a custom combination of two different pure breeds.
Often these dogs will look quite different to the founder breeds
because they are a mixture of two very different sets of genetic
backgrounds. Equally many dog breeds still contain a variety of
genetic variants for specific trait genes, especially coat color,
size and coat type. For example, there are many different forms of
Schnauzers such as miniature, standard and giant, and there are
many different coat colors and coat types found in the Dachshund
breed such as wire-, smooth- and long-haired. Dogs can be many
different colors and yet are still classified as the same
Q: My dog looks nothing like
the breeds detected in the ADVANCE Mixed Breed DNA Identification
Test analysis. Can you explain how this can happen?
A: Many parts of the canine genome are
likely to be unobservable or hidden with regard to trait
determination. This can happen for any number of trait-determining
genes. Simply put, a mixed-breed dog could be a mix of 3 or 4
breeds but have few traits evident from one or more of these
There are two good examples of how this can happen. The first is
eye color in humans. Brown is dominant over blue and green, and
yet, a brown-eyed mother can have a green-eyed son if the dominant
brown eye color variant is not passed on. The second, and perhaps
best, illustration of the surprising effects you may see when
mixing breeds is to study some designer dogs (e.g. puggles,
cocker-poos, etc.), which are a custom combination of two different
pure breeds. Often these dogs will look quite different to the
founder breeds because they are a mixture of two very different
sets of genetic backgrounds. Equally many dog breeds still contain
a variety of genetic variants for specific trait genes, especially
coat color, size and coat type. For example, there are many
different forms of Schnauzers such as miniature, standard and
giant, and there are many different coat colors and coat types
found in the Dachshund breed such as wire-, smooth- and
long-haired. Dogs can be many different colors and yet are still
classified as the same breed.
Q: Your website says that
breed signatures are extremely similar and can be hard to
differentiate. Who/what makes the final decision as to which breed
is reported? Computer? Human? Combination?
A: All breed determinations are made
solely by our proprietary computer algorithm. With each tested
dog's DNA, more than 7 million repetitive comparisons are made
using a complex statistical algorithm. The algorithm scans the 321
genetic markers collected and looks for matches to breed
signatures. The algorithm provides a marker by marker certainty
score for each breed match. The computer selects the single best
combination of breeds and relative amounts of breeds detected that
best match the tested DNA sample from this comparison with our
extensive database of purebred ANKC dog breed signatures.
Q: Many Australian National
Kennel Council (ANKC) breeds are derived from other, older breeds.
Would The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test sometimes
mistakenly detect some of the originating breeds instead of the
newer ANKC recognized breed?
A: Some breeds are relatively new,
created from mixing other breeds together. When this happens, some
ancestral similarities may remain in certain chromosomal regions,
making it possible to have breeds that have been combined in
crosses to ultimately form a new breed could potentially be
detected as matches at certain markers that our test uses. If this
occurs, this would most likely be reported as trace amounts of the
ancestrally related breeds.
Q: Of the Australian National
Kennel Council (ANKC) breeds not currently being identified and
some other breeds not recognized by ANKC (such as Murray River
Retriever), would the test identify that the dog has a significant
amount of an undetermined breed or would it just not say anything
A: Our test is designed to find the
best matches to the 200+ breeds in our database. Occasionally it is
possible that no strong breed matches will be made. In this case,
no breeds would be reported, which may happen if no breeds are
present in the lineage of the dog that The ADVANCE Mixed Breed
Identification DNA Test can detect. In terms of breeds not covered
by the The ADVANCE Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test, the results
will depend upon the genetic relatedness of the tested dog to the
breeds available in our database. For example, a Llewellyn Setter
(closely related genetically to the English Setter but not covered
by our test) might result in a report that contains some amount of