DNA Test – General FAQ

Q.What sample do I need to send in for the ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test?

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?

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 the laboratory?

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 sample safely.

Q.Does the blood sample need to be refrigerated?

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?

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 my clinic?

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?

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 any results.

Q.Why are the samples sent to the US for testing?

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 like.

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?

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 purebred.

Q.Can I perform the ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test on puppies?

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 puppies.

Q.Do you test for pitbulls?

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 parentage?

Unfortunately, at this time we do not offer proof of parentage.

Q.Does your test denote which parent is the mother and father?

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?

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 purposes.

Q.What is the relationship between the ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test and the Wisdom Panel Professional Mixed Breed Identification Test?

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.wisdompanel.com/why_test_your_dog/faqs/.

The Wisdom Panel Professional test has been supplemented for use in Australia to add additional breeds to the breed database (including the Dingo, Maremma Sheepdog, Koolie, Kelpie, Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog and Tenterfield Terrier) 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?

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 accuracy calculation.

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 Australian dogs.

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; and
  • 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.