Mars Veterinary, makers of the Optimal Selection™ Breeder Analysis have partnered with Genoscoper Laboratories® of Finland to provide breeders with the most comprehensive test of its kind. Mars Veterinary has taken the latest scientific research on dog population genetics and developed a simple at –home swab test that screens for multiple diseases and traits while also evaluating genetic diversity. This kind of testing can provide advantages over traditional techniques such as pedigree analysis and help breeders to develop proactive, sustainable breeding programs. Additionally, disease test results are accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) listing.
The Optimal Selection Breeder Analysis provides:
- Results for 100+ genetic diseases, reported in terms of known relevance to the specific breed evaluated.
- Testing for more than 20 traits including coat colors, coat types, and morphology.
- Genetic diversity information for the tested dog, the overall breed population, and related breed groups.
Optimal Selection also provides:
- A customizable profile for each dog on the international online breeder portal that can be shared, transferred to a new owner, or kept private.
- Access to the Breeder Tool, a cutting-edge program that allows breeders to find compatible mates for their dog based on testing information.
- Tools to connect breeders with other fanciers of their breed worldwide, that may expand their breeding options.
- Continuously updated research and breed information based on the discoveries from the Optimal Selection database of genetic submissions.
Optimal Selection tests for many coat colors and patterns, coat types, and morphologic (conformational) traits. Results are displayed in an easy-to-understand chart. Traits tested for include:
- Melanistic mask
- "No Effect" E allele
- Recessive red/yellow (clear red/yellow)
- Dominant black/brindle
- Agouti/Wolf Gray
- Tan points (Black-and-Tan)
- Recessive black
White spotting (Piebald)
- Brown, two variants (Liver/Chocolate)
Coat furnishings, two variants (moustache and eyebrows)
Coat length (FGF5 allele)
Bobtail (T gene)
Ear erectness, one variant
Size, two variants (IGF1, IGF1R)
Snout/skull length (BMP3)
Optimal Selection™ is a unique multipurpose test. Instead of series of one-off tests for diseases and individual mutations, Optimal Selection delivers a comprehensive set of results for more than 100 genetic diseases. However, because not all gene variants cause disease in each breed, and most disease variants have not been investigated in all breeds, detailed information about the test results are provided in three categories:
- Disorders known to be relevant to the tested breed
- New potential disorders
- Other disorders, usually ones not found to be significant in the breed
As genetic samples are collected and new potential disorders become known, they are listed only after certain criteria have been met to suggest they may be of significance in the breed:
- The result is verified by a secondary technology
- Clinical confirmation is obtained
Once these criteria have been met the condition is listed as a new potential disorder in the breed and additional follow-up and analysis is performed. In this way, Optimal Selection users—through their sample submissions—help with ongoing research, and help to provide early surveillance for disorders that may be spreading in the population.
Following is a list of diseases that are covered by Optimal Selection. Note that not every disease is applicable to every breed. Please be aware that, due to differences in laws by country, this test list applies to US customers only. For international inquiries, please contact us for more information.
Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy, (AHE)
Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI) (ENAM)
Autosomal Recessive Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, (ARSCID)
Bandera's Neonatal Ataxia (BNAt)
Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy or Remitting Focal Epilepsy
Bleeding disorder due to P2RY12 defect
Canine Cyclic Neutropenia, Cyclic Hematopoiesis, Gray Collie Syndrome, (CN)
Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD), type III
Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 1, (CMR1)
Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 2, (CMR2)
Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 3, (CMR3)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Muscular Dystrophy (CKCS-MD)
Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM), two variants
Cleft palate (DLX6), one variant
Complement 3 (C3) Deficiency
Cone Degeneration, (CD) or Achromatopsia
Cone-Rod Dystrophy 1, (crd1)
Cone-Rod Dystrophy 2 (crd2)
Cone-Rod Dystrophy of Wirehaired Dachshunds
Cone-Rod Dystrophy (cord1-PRA / crd4)
Congenital Hypothyroidism (TPO), one variant
Congenital Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca and Ichthyosiform Dermatosis, (CKCSID)
Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome (CMS)
Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)
Cystinuria Type I-A
Cystinuria Type IIA
Degenerative Myelopathy (SOD1)
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy (RHO)
Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy (DPRA)
Duchenne or Dystrophin Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)
Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa
Early Retinal Degeneration (erd)
Early-Onset Progressive Polyneuropathy; mutation originally found in Alaskan Malamute
Early-Onset Progressive Polyneuropathy; mutation originally found in Greyhound
Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC)
Factor IX Deficiency or Hemophilia B, one variant
Factor IX Deficiency or Hemophilia B of Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Factor VII Deficiency
Factor VIII Deficiency or Hemophilia A, three variants
Fetal Onset Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (FNAD)
Glanzmann Thrombasthenia Type I (GT)
Glaucoma in the Norwegian Elkhound
Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy or Krabbe's Disease, three variants
Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia (GSD Ia)
Glycogen Storage Disease Type II or Pompe's Disease (GSD II)
Glycogen Storage Disease Type IIIa (GSD IIIa)
GM2 Gangliosidosis (HEXA)
GM2 Gangliosidosis (HEXB)
Golden Retriever Progressive Retinal Atrophy 1
Hereditary Ataxia or Cerebellar Ataxia
Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis, (HFH)
Hereditary Phosphofructokinase Deficiency (PFKM)
Hereditary Vitamin D-Resistant Rickets, (HVDRR)
Hyperekplexia or Startle Disease
Hyperuricosuria (HUU) (SLC2A9)
Hypocatalasia or Acatalasemia (CAT)
Hypomyelination in Weimaraners
Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption or Imerslund-Grasbeck Syndrome (IGS), two variants
L-2-Hydroxyglutaric aciduria, (L2HGA)
Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD)
Lamellar Ichthyosis, (LI)
May-Hegglin Anomaly (MHA)
Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 3A, (MPS IIIA)
Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII (MPS VII), two variants
Multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1 gene mutation)
Muscular Hypertrophy (Double Muscling)
Musladin-Lueke syndrome (MLS)
Narcolepsy (HCRTR2), Labrador, Doberman, and Dachshund variants
Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration or Cerebellar Abiotrophy, (NCCD)
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures, (NEWS)
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis Type 8 (NCL8)
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis Type 1 (NCL1)
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis Type 10 (NCL10)
Osteochondrodysplasia of the Poodle
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) of the Beagle
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) or Brittle Bone Disease of Dachshunds
Persistent Müllerian Duct Syndrome, (PMDS)
Polycystic Kidney Disease of Bull Terriers (BTPKD)
Prekallikrein Deficiency (KLKB1)
Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD)
Primary Hyperoxaluria (PH)
Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG)
Progressive early-onset cerebellar ataxia
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), two variants
Protein Losing Nephropathy (PLN), NPHS1 variant
Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Phosphatase 1 (PDP1) Deficiency
Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD), multiple variants
Renal Cystadenocarcinoma and Nodular Dermatofibrosis, (RCND)
Rod-Cone Dysplasia 1 (rcd1); mutation originally found in Irish Setter
Rod-Cone Dysplasia 1a (rdc1a); mutation originally found in Sloughi
Rod-Cone Dysplasia 3 (rcd3)
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency in Frisian Water Dogs (SCID)
Skeletal Dysplasia 2 (SD2)
Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Myokymia and/or Seizures (SCA)
Spinocerebellar Ataxia/ Late-Onset Ataxia (SCA, LOA)
Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)
Von Willebrand's Disease Type II (vWD II)
X-Linked Ectodermal Dysplasia (XHED)
X-Linked Hereditary Nephropathy (XLHN)
X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy (MTM1)
X-Linked Progressive Retinal Atrophy 1 (XLPRA1)
X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (XSCID), two variants
X-Linked Tremors (PLP1)
Why genetic diversity? Genetic diversity is essential for survival of a species, and can be thought of as the breed’s "tool kit" for this purpose. Breeding for genetic diversity may help to:
- Decrease the incidence of puppies affected with recessively inherited diseases and diseases influenced by multiple genes.
- Increased litter sizes.
- Provide defense against diseases of unknown or complex genetic basis that cannot be otherwise addressed, until research finds the genetic cause.
Breeding for genetic diversity is an investment in the future health of the breed. Optimal Selection provides information on the diversity in three ways:
- Diversity of the individual dog tested.
- Diversity of the overall breed population.
- Diversity of the overall breed population compared to the diversity of other related breed populations.
To help breeders navigate the complexities of breeding for type, health and diversity, Optimal Selection offers breeders the world's first matchmaking tool. The Breeder Tool distills all the results information on the health, traits and diversity of the dogs from each breed population in the Optimal Selection database and provides a scientifically-calculated compatibility score for possible mates. The score helps to identify the breeding pairs that are most likely to produce the healthiest, most diverse puppies.
Breeders can use this information, in addition to criteria like hip scores, conformation of the dog, etc. in making mating decisions. Unlike pedigree analysis or coefficient of inbreeding analysis, the Breeder Tool considers each dog as an individual, evaluating more than 1,877 data points to generate the compatibility scores. This may have advantages over traditional techniques like pedigree analysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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™).
How is thw Optimal Selection 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.
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.
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® Canine DNA Test, 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.
Is Optimal Selection the same thing as MyDogDNA?
Mars Veterinary 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 Mars Veterinary, 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.
Can I submit semen from a deceased stud?
Yes. The Optimal Selection Genetic Breeding Analysis test 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 email@example.com or 888-K9 Pet Test (597-3883) and they would be happy to help you.
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.