April 21, 2024

A pet company has twice returned dog breed results for human swab samples, raising doubts about the accuracy of dog breed tests.

Wednesday, WBZ News reported his investigation team received dog breed results from the company DNA My Dog after one of its reporters sent in a swab sample – from her own cheek.

According to the results from the Toronto-based company, WBZ News reporter Christina Hager is 40% Alaskan malamute, 35% shar-pei and 25% labrador.

Hager also sent her samples to two other pets genetic testing companies. Melbourne, Australia and Florida-based company Orivet reported that the sample “failed to provide the data required to perform the breed ID analysis”. Meanwhile, Washington-based company Wisdom Panel said the sample “did not provide enough DNA to provide a reliable result”.

WBZ News’ latest report comes after its investigative team send in a sample from New Hampshire pet owner Michelle Leininger’s own cheek to DNA My Dog last year. In turn, the results declared Leininger 40% border collie, 32% cane corso and 28% bulldog.

“Some people would sometimes agree with that, but no, no,” Leininger joking to WBZ News.

DNA My Dog told WBZ News at the time that it only found dog DNA on one of Leininger’s two cheek swabs.

“The second sample did in fact yield canine DNA … The results provided would not be possible on a human sample,” the company said said.

The global canine DNA testing market, valued at $235m in 2022, is expected to grow to $723m by 2030, According to Zion Market Research. The industry’s major players include DNA My Dog, Orivet and Wisdom Panel, among others.

But erroneous results cast doubt on the accuracy of the DNA tests.

Talk to To WBZ News last year after Leininger’s results, Harvard Medical School veterinarian and bioethicist Lisa Moses said, “I think it’s a red flag for sure … A company needs to know if they’re in any basic way analyzed a dog’s DNA, that it is not a dog.”

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Moses continued: “There’s not necessarily a gold standard answer for what your dog is… A breed is something we’ve decided based on essentially what a dog looks like… But it means not necessarily that we’re going to know what their genes look like.”

In response to WBZ News’ latest reporting, people voiced their doubts social media.

“It would be interesting to see what the results would be if they sent dog DNA to one of the human DNA genealogy testing sites,” one person said.

Someone else said: “Throw money at something like that? Never!! Will never trust it.”

“Lol some people might want to check their family tree,” another person wrote.

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