DNA Paternity Testing in the Animal Kingdom

Aug 4, 2015 | Blog, Pets & Vets

Anything goes in the animal kingdom, and paternity testing is beginning to prove just how that is. While many people associate DNA tests with proving paternity in court cases or otherwise, these procedures can also be used for a number of reasons with animals. Whether you want to determine whether or not your prized pup is a true purebred or figure out who your cat’s ancestors are, DNA testing can help shed light on complex animal genetics.


How Animal DNA Testing Works

Paternity testing works largely the same for animals as it does for humans. Genetic testing has long been used to determine a variety of factors in dogs, cats, and livestock. Some of the information a DNA screening can show includes:

  • Identification
  • Parentage
  • Coat colors
  • Diseases

Whether you’re a professional breeder or simply need more information about a dog you’re considering adopting from your local shelter, paternity testing can provide the accurate results you need.


Taking DNA Testing to New Depths, Literally

There’s an exciting new avenue for paternity testing in the animal kingdom that has recently been applied to Loggerhead sea turtles in Australia. Loggerheads are unusual in that they’re known to have multiple fathers. While it was already understood that female turtles each have multiple mates, scientists have been unable to explain the phenomenon until recently, when they applied paternity testing to the sea turtles.


Test Results

DNA sequencing revealed that an average of 1.2 to 2.1 males fathered a nest of 25 eggs. This supports the findings of first hand observation studies that suggested female sea turtles often had more than one mate. By using paternity testing, scientists are able to look at the DNA of mother and child alongside each other. Any parts of the sequence that do not match are attributed to the father.


The Future of DNA Testing in the Animal Kingdom

While DNA testing will always be used to determine origin in animals, these paternity tests are set to play an even more important role as the discussion around climate change continues.

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