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I've seen DNA testing suggested for breed proofing, and hope to learn if there is more definitive testing than I know of (objective, scientific, and evidence-based) at this time.

DNA testing is absolutely valid for parentage testing. Sometimes a responsible breeder will breed a bitch to two stud dogs and later test the puppies to determine who is the sire. That's completely valid.

DNA testing to determine breed for a rescue or dog of otherwise unknown parentage is still (to my understanding) in the realm of entertainment. One can DNA test to try and get some sort of history, but to my understanding one cannot guarantee breed history or lines, without much more foundational data involved.

If someone has science-based data that varies, I'd be interested to learn of it.
 

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That's a fair statement. It's more than a roll of the dice and less than a guarantee that 100% accurate results will be obtained. Much depends on the testing entity's sample database:

"While some problems can result in merely underestimating the percentage of mutt’s ancestry that derives from a specific breed, other problems can prevent the correct breed from being identified at all. The most substantial of these problems is the absence of true ancestral breed from the reference dataset (Figure 9). Because breed ancestry is inferred by comparing chunks of mutt DNA to purebred dogs of known breeds, if a breed is absent from the reference dataset, that breed simply cannot be detected, even if it contributed a very large fraction of a mutt’s DNA. This issue will ultimately be solved only through inclusion of reference genomes from recognized breeds; in the meantime, if you are interested in knowing whether your dog has ancestry from a specific rare breed, it is important to make sure your breed ancestry company of choice is able to check for that breed. For those who decide to proceed with ancestry inference even though the breed of interest is known to be absent from the reference set, it is important to keep in mind that the absence of that breed from the list of inferred ancestors provides no information as to whether the mutt truly lacks that particular ancestry.

The mutations selected for genotyping also determine which breed ancestries can be accurately identified in a mixed-breed dog. Genotyping arrays tend to include more mutations present in common breeds. This means that chunks of chromosomes from poodles and German shepherds may be especially easy to identify because many of the mutations common in these breeds are assayed on genotyping arrays. While many mutations could help identify chunks of DNA from rare breeds such as New Guinea singing dogs or Skye terriers, some of these mutations may not be represented on widely-used genotyping arrays, which could make these breeds harder to identify. This problem will eventually be solved by creating breed reference datasets with sequence data, which would allow for the interpretation of many more mutations and would not be biased toward detection of ancestry from specific breeds.

A mutt’s relationship to its purebred ancestors also affects the reliability of breed determination. In particular, it is easier to identify the breed ancestry of DNA from a purebred ancestor who is a close relative (such as a parent) because mutations from recent ancestors will reside in longer chunks of DNA with more informative mutations. For example, while the first mutation observed on a mutt’s chromosome may be common in both Labradors and Golden Retrievers, perhaps the first, second, and third mutations observed are only seen together in Golden Retrievers. DNA contributed by ancestors from many generations back will exist as only short chromosome chunks, with fewer mutations to help identify their contribution to the mutt’s ancestry, making inference more difficult. This issue can be mitigated by using data from sequencing instead of genotyping, allowing for all mutations to be analyzed. However, DNA inherited from many generations back can be in chromosome chunks so short that it will not contain chromosome chunks characteristic of a specific breed, such that the breed’s contributions to a mutt’s ancestry cannot be detected even with whole-genome data (Li et al., 2014)."

quoted from:

https://winter2018.iaabcjournal.org/?p=140

A level of identification is possible, and will become more accurate as more breeds are entered in the database and by using a different method.

I did the AncestryDNA test last year. They noted that my DNA results may change as more information is available for comparison. I have already had one update which did change my general Ireland and Scotland genetics to a more specific North East Scotland & the Northern Isles. As the database grows the information will evolve. The DNA information on dogs is growing as it is for humans.

I don't think this exactly meets the science-based data criterion you wrote of for proof, but I think it suggests that a level of accuracy is possible and will get higher as the information and testing evolves.

This article in The Whole Dog Journal discusses genetic health testing and the similar issues that field is facing from the consumer/vet standpoint.

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/instincts-dna/genetic-health-screening-for-dogs/
 

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I don’t know what evidence is available supporting the tests like Wisdon Panel, and I do think they still fall in the realm of entertainment. Thanks you Rose n Poos for posting the explanation of how they derive the results. To me, it indicates that there may be validity at times, but it’s not reliable.

I did a Wisdom Panel on both Misty and Lily. I did Lily’s eight years ago and the results were strange. They listed seven breeds, including Polish Lowland Sheepdog and Schipperke! Poodle was listed but it was a small percentage. Didn’t make sense.

I heard they were getting better, so I decided to send Misty’s in a year or so ago. The groomer who shaved her when she came up from the shelter said she was a Havanese, or a Havanese mix. The wisdom panel said she was 50% Bichon and 50% Shihtzu (with a Pekingese great grandparent on that side). This made sense, especially when I started reading about Bichon personalities, it fits Misty perfectly.

That’s been my experience. I’ve thought of re-doing Lily’s and seeing what it shows now, if I see a sale I may do that.
 
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Thanks for posting this thread. They usually have sales on the tests in November and December, and that's when I was hoping to purchase one for my rescue Miracle. I was thinking of going with Embark.

Miracle was listed as a toy poodle by her rescue, and puppy paperwork from the vet also lists poodle, but she came from a backyard breeding situation. She might be a miniature mixed with a toy. She has smaller ears and some of her fur seems wiry and grows faster than the rest, so I wonder. Her personality, though, and how she moves is very much poodle. She's truly a joy. I think it would be fun to do a test just to see what it shows...but not at the current price.
 

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I think I trust Embark more than Wisdom based on the research I've done on the two. We recently gave my sister an Embark kit because she rescued a mixed breed dog. I think the breed test will be interesting, but the health genetic tests are the most directly useful results.

Based on comparisons of embark and wisdom, it seems like wisdom will often get the general group of breeds like herding dog or retriever, but the specific breed isn't always correct. But maybe they've improved since I did a comparison of them. It definitely seems that the more breeds are involved, the less likely they are to get the correct result. But that makes sense. I like that Embark is partnered with Cornell.

We got the full embark on sale for $140 which I think is a good price.
 

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I think I trust Embark more than Wisdom based on the research I've done on the two. We recently gave my sister an Embark kit because she rescued a mixed breed dog. I think the breed test will be interesting, but the health genetic tests are the most directly useful results.

Based on comparisons of embark and wisdom, it seems like wisdom will often get the general group of breeds like herding dog or retriever, but the specific breed isn't always correct. But maybe they've improved since I did a comparison of them. It definitely seems that the more breeds are involved, the less likely they are to get the correct result. But that makes sense. I like that Embark is partnered with Cornell.

We got the full embark on sale for $140 which I think is a good price.
Where did you find Embark at that price?? I think the lowest I have seen is $180.
 

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Where did you find Embark at that price?? I think the lowest I have seen is $180.
They had a sale going on for Prime day. We bought it directly from Embark's site, but used their prime code. I agree it was a great price. I would check next prime day or approaching the fall/winter holidays. Or sign up for their newsletter, as they may advertise deals through that.
 

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This is quoted from the second link I posted re genetic health testing but it gives opinions and some facts about several better known DNA testing companies. I am making an assumption that if these institutions agree to partner on one front, they would feel confident in an overall association by reputation.


"Popular Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Health Testing Services

Embark

Embark uses a proprietary SNP-chip (single nucleotide polymorphism) that evaluates 200,000 locations across your dog’s genome, allowing for comprehensive results on disease risks and traits, testing for over 160 mutations associated with genetic diseases from DNA acquired through a cheek swab. The company works directly with consumers and in partnership with veterinarians.

The Good: Each mutation is queried two to eight times and examined by a team of geneticists and veterinarians to ensure accuracy. As a research partner of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark is committed to the continued development of the emerging science of genetic health information and shares updated information with consumers as it becomes available.

The Questionable: The mapping of genetic variants to the risk of disease is incredibly challenging and currently based on a nascent science with a lot of noise in the interpretation of the data. As a result, when a dog tests positive for a health risk mutation, owners need to receive these data with skepticism and discuss these results with their veterinarian. While Embark communicates this, it takes a lot of digging to find. The upfront marketing by all of the companies providing this service, lends the impression that their results are much stronger than they actually are.

Wisdom Panel

The health panel offered through Wisdom looks for 3,000 genetic markers, incorporating the MyDogDNA test from Genoscoper Laboratories of Finland. Their mail-in cheek swab tests for breed identification while also screening for the mutations associated with multidrug sensitivity and exercise-induced collapse.

Blood tests that provide breed identification and screening for more than 140 mutations and markers associated with various disorders are available through Banfield Pet Hospital, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and through veterinarians who offer a test from Royal Canin, another Mars Petcare subsidiary.

The Good: The tests for MDR1 are licensed through Washington State University (WSU), which is the only entity licensed to perform stand-alone MDR1 genotyping in the United States. According to WSU: “Unless testing is conducted by Washington State University’s Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory or its licensee Wisdom Health, Washington State University cannot control quality and accuracy of results. Consumers may risk receiving inaccurate results.”

This is particularly important because three different mutations have been associated with this deleterious phenotype, but many genetic-testing companies indicate that they may test for only one. “Thus, a dog declared ‘clear’ for a given gene might still harbor other known, clinically relevant mutations in that gene that the company has not tested for,” according to the paper published in Nature.

The Questionable: If an owner chooses to seek more genetic health information via the blood test route, the testing is guided by a veterinarian at Banfield, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. The blood is then sent to be analyzed by Wisdom, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and the results interpreted for you by that veterinarian at a hospital owned by Banfield – again, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. This represents a possible conflict of interest.

"
 
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