Mars Launches DNA Test To Increase Genetic Diversity In Breeding Dog Litters

A new DNA test has been released by Mars Veterinary to help breeders diversify genetic makeup.

Mars Veterinary of Rockville, Md., introduced a DNA test designed to help dog breeders diversify genetic makeup, reduce problems associated with inbreeding and maintain desirable traits in puppies.

The Optimal Selection test analyzes and compares chromosomes of blood samples from potential breeding pairs. The system scores potential pairs based on the compatibility of the chromosomes analyzed. A lower score indicates less risk of haplotype overlap in undesirable areas between potential pairs, allowing breeders to maximize the potential genetic heterozygosity from the selected dogs. According to Mars, studies have shown limited heterozygosity can cause decreased litter size and lead to greater health risks in puppies.

“We have leveraged our extensive knowledge of the genetic structures across breeds to closely examine the DNA of dogs within each breed and help owners take their breeding programs to the next level,” said Angela Hughes, DVM, Ph.D., veterinary genetics research manager for Mars Veterinary. “Optimal Selection has the potential to transform dog breeding so that the genetic diversity within a breed or family line can be protected and maximized, which can make a tangible, long-term positive impact on the health and wellness of these wonderful dogs.”

Optimal Selection are available through the website for a cost of $95 per test. Each test requires a veterinarian-supervised blood draw, and results are available within two to three weeks of submission to Mars Veterinary. The test is available for 152 dog breeds.


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