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General Questions About Optimal Selection™

Can the results be transferred to my breed registry?

DNA profiling is the primary type of DNA testing offered by breed registries in the US. DNA profiling is for the purpose of permanent identification of a dog (similar to a microchip) and for parentage testing; it does not screen for genetic diseases or genetic diversity. DNA profiling typically uses 13 microsatellite markers (often called STRs) to identify each dog, which are a different type of DNA marker than the one used in the Optimal Selection DNA test. Because different markers are used, in significantly greater numbers, and at different locations than those used in DNA profiling, results are not equivalent or transferrable. While Optimal Selection was not designed for DNA profiling for the purposes of verifying parentage or dog identity, it does identify every dog tested as a unique and recognizable individual.

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Can I use my results for listing with OFA’s CHIC?

Yes! We are recognized by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as an authorized DNA laboratory, and Optimal Selection results can be used for results listing on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). Instructions for submission of those results to OFA can be found on the Optimal Selection web portal under each dog’s account.

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Can I test puppies?

Yes! Puppies can be tested, as their DNA results do not change with age. However, care must be taken that the dam’s or littermates’ DNA does not contaminate the sample. The process of nursing seeds the puppy’s mouth with DNA from the dam’s skin and the cells in the dam’s milk, so we do not recommend testing puppies who are still nursing. However, as soon as puppies are weaned, they can be safely tested following the usual guidelines. Optimal Selection dog profiles and accompanying results are designed to be easily shared or transferred to new owners when needed, free of charge, so an entire litter can be listed with Optimal Selection before they leave their birth home.

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What breeds do you test for?

All breeds can be tested using an Optimal Selection DNA test and receive results about individual diversity and genetic health. However, certain breed statistics will not become available until a minimum number of individuals of that breed have been tested, in order to provide statistically significant population results.

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Should I test my mixed-breed dog using Optimal Selection?

No. Optimal Selection is intended for purebred dogs only. If you have a mixed-breed dog and are interested in genetic health, we encourage you to test your dog using a Wisdom Panel canine DNA Test available on our website, or speak with your veterinarian about breed and genetic disease testing through Royal Canin® (Genetic Health Analysis™) or Banfield® Pet Hospitals (Canine Ganatic Analysis™).

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How is Optimal Selection’s Genetic Health Index result different than coefficient of inbreeding or haplotypes?

The Optimal Selection Genetic Health Index (GHI) describes the relative health level of an individual dog’s genetic makeup in relation to previously tested dogs in the Optimal Selection database. This single number takes into account disease test results, the severity of the disease findings, as well as measured genetic diversity for that individual, obtained by examining over 1,800 locations spread over all chromosomes. The average dog has a GHI value of 100 - the healthier the dog, the higher the index.

NOTE:: The GHI value of a dog should not be used for breeding selections by itself, as mating of two dogs with a high GHI will not necessarily lead to healthier offspring. The Breeder Tool is designed to evaluate the genetic match between individuals, and provides a calculated projected GHI of the offspring to give breeders an easy way to compare possible mates to optimize the health and diversity of the litter.

Coefficient of inbreeding (COI), also known as coefficient of relationship, is a method of evaluating the degree of relatedness of two individuals based on pedigree records, not DNA testing. As a result, the COI is exactly the same for all puppies from a particular mating. Although genetic recombination in mammalian breeding is unpredictable, COI does not take into consideration the actual DNA inherited by an individual or variation between individuals within litters, nor does it correct for inaccuracies or unknowns in pedigree. DNA testing for diversity is individual-specific and can therefore be more sensitive, identifying opportunities for gains in diversity that could not otherwise be discerned by COI calculations.

Haplotype diversity refers to a form of DNA testing wherein sets or patterns of DNA markers are considered in breeding. This is popularly used in humans for the Y, or male chromosome, and is sometimes used in dogs. We believe evaluating genetic diversity across all markers and chromosomes is a more holistic, comprehensive approach to genetic diversity, although there are certainly conditions in which haplotype testing is more appropriate. The Optimal Selection Genetic Health Index provides all the information derived from an individual’s diversity and health evaluation in one easy to understand value, and in combination with the Breeder Tool, can allow breeders to make smarter breeding decisions. Unlike most haplotype testing, it does not require consultation with a genetics expert for result interpretation.

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Are results shared with registries or other breeders?

No. Mars Veterinary takes client confidentiality seriously, and does not share testing information. Identities of submitting owners, as well as individual testing results, are not visible to anyone but the submitting owner, unless the owner chooses to share that information. In order to use the Optimal Selection Breeder Tool to find potential mates for breeding, the dog’s results must be made visible (public) to the global Optimal Selection community to see available dogs of the same breed. If an owner wishes to share his or her dog’s test results with another person, they can easily do so. The tested dog’s results will be visible to the submitting owner and with any person with whom they are shared, even if the dog does not participate in our Breeder Tool.

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Can I upgrade my results?

At this time, testing upgrades are not available. If you have previously tested with us using a different product, such as Wisdom Panel, or if new mutations or features become available for Optimal Selection for which you wish to test your dog, you must resubmit a new test. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Is Optimal Selection the same thing as MyDogDNA?

Wisdom Health partnered with Genoscoper® Laboratories of Finland to offer a global breeder testing service, combining the knowledge and features of both companies’ prior products. This test and service is called Optimal Selection in the United States, offered by Wisdom Health, and MyDogDNA™ in Europe, through Genoscoper Laboratories. Breeders in the US, Europe, and anywhere else these tests are offered can all communicate on the global web portal, which is ideal for breeds with an international following.

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Can I submit semen from a deceased stud?

Yes. Optimal Selection Genetic Breeding Analysis is typically performed on cheek swab DNA samples. However, semen samples are also an excellent source of DNA if the dog is not available for swabbing.  Note that a small additional laboratory processing fee is required for semen samples. The preferred semen sample is in the form of semen straws. However, pellets, vials or tubes of semen are also acceptable. A minimum of 50 microliters of semen is required for testing, although we recommend sending at least 100 microliters to ensure a sufficient quantity for testing. The volume contained in a semen straw varies, but any fully loaded straw will have more than the minimum 50 microliter volume.

Please contact Customer Service for a step-by-step guide to submit this sample type at or 888-K9 Pet Test (597-3883) and they would be happy to help you.

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Do you analyze Dog Leukocyte Antigen (DLA) types?

Dog Leukocyte Antigens (DLA) are the canine equivalent of major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) in humans; these are cell surface proteins expressed by cells of the immune system (white blood cells, or leukocytes). DLA types have received considerable attention in recent years, as they are suspected to play a critical role in autoimmune diseases, and we are aware of this research. However, because DLA types reflect a functional portion of the canine immune system, and its ability to fight infectious disease and cancer, until DLAs are better understood, we do not feel it prudent to select for or against certain DLA types, as there may be benefits or reasons for the presence or commonness of certain DLA types that are not known, and unforeseen consequences could occur that would impact the health of those dogs. Optimal Selection contains markers in the DLA region and incorporates these data into the dog’s diversity analysis, but does not actively select for DLA types in isolation. By emphasizing overall diversity in breeding, we feel similar benefits in immune health can be obtained. More research is certainly needed on this subject.

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Does Wisdom Health provide support for special projects, such as outcrossings?

Yes! If a group wishes to conduct a special breeding project within a specific population, such as an outcrossing to alternative breed(s) to improve diversity or disease characteristics, we can work with you to help meet those goals. Please contact us and our team of veterinarians and geneticists would be happy to discuss with you.

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