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General questions about Wisdom Panel Questions

Where do I find the Sample ID # to check the status of my order?

Depending on your kit packaging, the Sample ID# may be located in one of the following places:
  • Top or bottom of your submission form or instruction sheet.
  • The side of your product box.
  • The sticker that goes on the swab sleeve, which may already be pre-applied.
     

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What is Wisdom Panel?

In the case of a mixed-breed dog, your dog has inherited traits from his ancestors just like you did from your family. But, just like you don’t look exactly like your grandparents, the same is true for your loveable mutt. When you combine the DNA from different purebreds, you create a one-of-a-kind mixed-breed dog like yours. As it can be difficult to identify ancestral breeds by visual identification, using your dog’s DNA to determine the ancestral breeds is much more accurate.
 
Knowing your dog’s ancestry can help you create a tailored wellness program to fit their one-of-a-kind needs. Wisdom Panel tests are simple DNA tests that reveal the breeds in your dog’s ancestry. Wisdom Panel incorporates ancestry analysis for mixed-breed dogs, as well as the purebred and designer dog tests. All versions of the test provide ancestry validation, breed information and a predicted weight profile. Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 also screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation.
 
Wisdom Panel will analyze your dog’s DNA using a proprietary computer algorithm and breed database to identify the breed(s) present in their recent ancestry. If you think your dog is purebred or cross between two different breeds (a designer dog), you can indicate this during kit activation. The Wisdom Panel computer algorithm will still evaluate your dog’s signature against all the breeds in the database, but will also perform additional analyses that will tell you how your dog’s DNA compares with other purebred or designer dogs of the same breed(s) you selected.

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How do the Wisdom Panel reports show a mixed-breed dog's results?

Wisdom Panel breaks down a dog’s lineage in the form of an ancestry tree. This allows you to see which breeds are present at the parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent levels. Keep in mind that a parent contributes 50% of their DNA to the puppy, while a grandparent contributes about 25% and great-grandparent approximately 12.5%. If a purebred is not present, you will see a mixed breed tag or the ancestral group symbol in its place.
 
Because each of these levels contributes different amounts of DNA to a dog, their influence in your dog’s physical and behavioral traits will vary. For example, with a parental breed, you are likely to see some of the physical and behavioral traits from this breed represented in your dog. Some traits present in one or both parents may not be observed in your dog because they are recessive traits. Examples of recessive traits include longhair (in most breeds), a clear yellow or red hair coat, a brown or chocolate hair coat, and "prick" or upright ear set (e.g. like a German Shepherd Dog). It is unlikely that you will see traits from breeds at the grandparent level unless they are dominant traits (traits that require only one copy of the gene variant to show it). Examples of dominant traits include shorthair (in most breeds), black hair coat, black nose, a "drop" or down ear set (e.g. like a Beagle), and merle/dapple (e.g. like an Australian Shepherd or Great Dane).
 
Not only does the computer analyze a dog’s DNA for the breeds and their likely proportions in the dog’s ancestry, but it also models which side of the dog’s ancestry each breed is likely coming from.

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How does Wisdom Panel work?

Testing your dog with Wisdom Panel swab tests begins when you use the cheek swabs to collect a DNA sample from inside your dog’s cheek and then send the swabs into the laboratory. Once your sample is received at our lab it is scanned into our database and assigned to a batch for testing. It then undergoes processing to extract the DNA from your dog’s cells, which is examined for the 321 markers that are used in the tests. The results of these markers are sent to a computer that evaluates them using an algorithm designed to consider all of the pedigree trees that are possible in the last three generations for your dog. Our computer algorithm uses information from our extensive breed database to analyze these potential pedigrees and determine which one is the best fit.
 
The computer algorithm gives each of the millions of combinations of ancestry trees built and considered a score representing how well that selected combination of breeds matches your dog’s data. The pedigree with the overall best score is selected and provided to you in your dog’s individualized report. It normally takes 2-3 weeks from the time a sample is received for the genetic testing and analysis to be completed.
 
In addition, the Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 tests screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation. This mutation in the MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 gene is found in many of the herding breeds. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion of many drugs used in dogs. As a result, dogs with this mutation may have adverse reactions to some common drugs, so it is important to test your dog and share your results with your veterinarian so they can provide you with the best possible care. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe lower doses of certain medications or avoid some medications entirely if your dog is positive for the MDR1 mutation. This mutation is sometimes referred to as "ivermectin sensitivity", though this name is a misnomer because many medications are affected by the MDR1 mutation.

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How do I use my Wisdom Panel kit to test my dog’s DNA?

  1. Simply collect a sample from the inside of your dog’s cheek with the included swabs.
  2. Using the provided "Test Sample ID", activate your kit online and mail the swabs back to our laboratory in the postage-paid packaging.
  3. In approximately three weeks, you’ll receive an e-mailed ancestry report with your dog’s results.

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How can I track my Wisdom Panel sample online?

You can track the progress of your sample online by visiting
www.WisdomPanel.com
, and clicking on the Test Status Checker in the top navigation. You will be prompted to login and you can then track the status of your sample.

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Can Wisdom Panel certify a purebred or designer dog?

If you think your dog is a purebred or a cross between two different purebreds, sometimes referred to as a designer dog, you can indicate this during kit activation and the DNA sample will be analyzed as usual against all the breeds in our database with the breed identification computer program. By distinguishing a particular breed or breeds at activation, however, we will also perform additional analyses that compare how closely your dog’s DNA profile matches to the specific breed(s) you identified. Note that the DNA profiles for some breeds may vary depending on the family line or specific geographic origin of that family line. For example, we have observed different DNA patterns for some purebred dogs in the US and the UK or Australia.

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How accurate is Wisdom Panel?

At Mars Veterinary, we pride ourselves on offering the most reliable and accurate genetic tests on the market. Wisdom Panel tests provide the highest level of accuracy possible for a cheek swab DNA test, but that accuracy can vary depending on the quality of DNA collected from the dog. Because of the potential variation in DNA quality, we are unable to provide a definitive determination of accuracy at this time.
 
To ensure that the Wisdom Panel tests are as accurate as possible, Mars Veterinary has focused its research on several important factors including:
  1. Genetic markers: These are the places of variation in a dog's DNA. By studying both the similarities and differences in these markers among different breeds, we are able to determine characteristic signatures. During Wisdom Panel test development we completed over 19 million genetic marker analyses and typed over 13,000 dogs. This is important because careful analysis is needed in order to accurately locate the sites of variation that make each breed unique. All of these calculations require a very advanced computer program that can analyze all of this data and identify the breeds in each dog.
  2. Numbers and types of dogs: Our database is used to compare your dog's DNA against other dog’s DNA. The more breeds, the better the test. Wisdom Panel® 2.0 and 2.5 tests cover over 200 different breeds, types, and varieties and Wisdom Panel® 3.0 covers 250+ breeds, types, and varieties.
  3. Validation testing for accuracy: This includes repeated testing of a dog’s sample and review by independent third party specialists, geneticists, and leading authorities on canine genetics. All of the Wisdom Panel tests are run in an USDA-accredited laboratory to ensure proper quality control.

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Has Wisdom Panel been used to test the same dog more than once to see if results are the same?

Yes, we have used Wisdom Panel to test many dogs more than once and we were able to detect when a second sample from the same dog was submitted. Our quality control data demonstrates that on each of the 321 genetic markers analyzed with the Wisdom Panel, the average repeatability is over 99%. Due to subtle differences in the number of markers that are returned from our laboratory in repeat runs of the same dog, there may, occasionally, be minor variations in the results reported, particularly at the "trace amount" level. Breeds detected at trace amounts indicate that their signature is being found at lower confidence, so the result is not included in accuracy calculations.

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Can Wisdom Panel tests identify health issues or disease predispositions?

In addition to an ancestry analysis, Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 tests screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation. This mutation in the MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 gene is found in many of the herding breeds. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion of many drugs used in dogs. This mutation is sometimes referred to as "ivermectin sensitivity" though this name is a misnomer since many other medications are affected by the MDR1 mutation.
 
Some dogs, particularly herding breeds or mixed-breed dogs with herding breed ancestry have a mutation in the MDR1 gene. Dogs with this mutation are unable to limit the absorption and distribution of many drugs. These dogs are also slower to eliminate drugs from the body that are transported by the P-glycoprotein. As a result, dogs with this mutation may have adverse reactions to some common drugs, so it is important to test your dog and share your results with your veterinarian so they can provide you with the best possible care. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe lower doses of certain medications or avoid some medications entirely if your dog is positive for the MDR1 mutation.
 
Wisdom Panel® 2.0 is designed specifically for determining the breed makeup of a dog. It is not designed to determine which genetically-associated disease predispositions—if any—might be present in a dog.

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How long does it take to get Wisdom Panel results?

Once the sample has been received at the lab it generally takes two to three weeks for the sample to be tested, the results generated, and the report made available for viewing. You will receive an email notification when your report is ready.

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Why doesn't my dog look like the breeds detected by the Wisdom Panel test?

Physical appearance is largely controlled by a small number of genes. These genes can have both recessive and dominant variants and the particular variants that are present in the dog determine the physical traits seen. As a result, the presence of a breed’s signature does not guarantee that the dog will look like the specific detected breed, because the genetic contributions from the other breeds present may be more visible.

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Can puppies be tested with Wisdom Panel?

Yes. Wisdom Panel is designed for dogs of all ages and is safe and easy to use at any stage in a dog's life. However, we do recommend waiting until a puppy has been weaned to prevent cross-contamination from suckling on their mother and having cells from her skin and milk in their mouth at the time of swabbing.
 
Note that it can be very difficult to observe breed traits in puppies, because they are growing and developing rapidly. Most dogs will not achieve their final mature physical traits until they are at least one to two years of age.

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What if I have a question about my Wisdom Panel results?

Please contact us at 888-K9 PET TEST (1-888-597-3883) or fill out the
contact us form
, if you should have any questions regarding your results.

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Do Wisdom Panel test results denote which parent is the mother and which is the father?

Wisdom Panel tests are not able to determine which parent is the mother and which is the father at this time.

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Will my Wisdom Panel test results allow me to register my dog with the AKC?

The Wisdom Panel tests do not allow you to register your dog with the American Kennel Club (AKC). For information on how to register your dog with the AKC please visit
http://www.akc.org/reg/index.cfm?nav_area=registration

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Do the Wisdom Panel tests measure the purity of my purebred dog?

The Wisdom Panel tests can be used to determine how similar or dissimilar your dog is genetically to other known purebreds of the same breed. However, the kennel clubs govern the definition of purity.

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Do the Wisdom Panel tests provide proof of parentage?

Wisdom Panel tests do not provide parentage testing at this time.

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Can a Wisdom Panel test determine the sex of the dog tested?

Wisdom Panel tests are specifically designed to look for the combination of ancestral breed(s) in a dog utilizing the non-sex chromosomes, and therefore, they cannot determine the sex of a dog at this time.

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Is Mars Veterinary collecting samples of purebred dogs to add more breeds to the Wisdom Panel tests?

Yes. If you have a purebred dog that is not included in the over 250 total breeds, types and varieties that we currently cover, and would like to donate a small sample to help us add that breed to our database, please contact our customer care team at customercare@marsveterinary.com. We will send an information pack to enable you to send us a sample.

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Where did Mars Veterinary get the dog DNA samples used to develop the Wisdom Panel tests and scientific studies?

Mars Veterinary worked with breeders and kennels clubs in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom to collect samples from over 13,000 purebred dogs allowing us to analyze over 19 million DNA markers. As a result, Wisdom Panel® 2.0 and 2.5 can identify over 200 breeds and varieties and 3.0, 250+ breeds, types, and varieties that may be present in a dog including all breeds registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) at this time. The Wisdom Panel tests are based on the most sophisticated and comprehensive genetic database for dogs available.

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About Wisdom Panel Swab Sample Collection Questions

How do I collect a good DNA sample from my dog’s cheek?

Collecting a sample is easy.
  1. Quickly inspect your dog’s mouth between the cheek and gums for food debris.
  2. Open the swab sleeve, remove the swabs but avoid touching the bristles.
  3. Firmly roll and rotate the swab’s bristles against the inside of your dog’s cheek. Use the other hand to apply gentle pressure from the outside of the mouth to ensure good contact of the cheek with the swabs.
  4. Allow the sample to dry for five minutes prior to putting the swab back into sleeve.

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How long after my dog has eaten and/or drank can I swab it?

Please wait approximately two hours after feeding your dog a meal or treat to begin the DNA collection. No sampling delay is needed after a dog drinks water.

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How do I air dry the swabs without contaminating them?

The swab will only become contaminated if it comes into contact with other dogs, people, or dirty surfaces. It should be dried with the swab bristles in the air and not in contact with any surface. Both swabs should be air dried for five minutes and then reinserted into the protective sleeves provided so that the bristle brushes are completely covered. Very important! Do not reseal the sleeve as this can cause bacteria/fungus growth. Your dog’s swab samples should be shipped immediately and they can be shipped at normal room temperature. Please follow the instructions in your kit to mail the swabs in their pre-paid packaging.

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How long can I leave the swabs out before they become unusable?

The swabs should be placed back in their protective sleeves as soon as they have air dried. Both swabs only need five minutes to completely dry. Leaving them out in the air for longer than the recommended time should not damage the swabs, but may increase the possibility of contamination. Please keep in mind that the protective sleeves should not be resealed as this may cause bacteria/fungus growth to occur.

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How will I know if I have enough DNA on my swab?

Cheek cells will not necessarily be visible on the swabs. However, if you place the swab inside the dog’s cheek and firmly rub the swab around for about 15 seconds then there should be enough material transferred to the swab.

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How do I activate my dog’s sample?

Activate your dog’s sample at
www.wisdompanel.com/registration
. This will allow immediate tracking of your sample as well as updates throughout the process of the test analysis. Please be sure to complete all the required fields.

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Where do I find the Sample ID # to activate my sample online?

Depending on your kit packaging, the Sample ID# maybe located in one of the following places:
  • Top or bottom of your submission form or instruction sheet.
  • The side of your product box.
  • The sticker that goes on the swab sleeve, which may already be pre-applied.

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What if I have more than one dog in my home?

To ensure that a good swab sample is obtained it is best that your dog does not share water or food bowls with another dog for at least two hours prior to swabbing them.

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My dog destroyed one of the swabs, are both needed for my Wisdom Panel test?

Ideally, we would like to have both swabs in case there is not enough DNA material on one swab for us to test; however, only one swab is necessary to perform the analysis. If that swab fails the analysis, Mars Veterinary will contact you for a retest with an additional swab kit.

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My dog just died. Can I still do a Wisdom Panel test?

Taking a swab DNA sample from a deceased dog is not recommended, whatever the circumstance, as the quality of the DNA sample will likely be unusable for Wisdom Panel testing purposes. A veterinarian may be able to obtain a piece of tissue that we can use for our testing purposes. Please contact us at 888-597-3883 for additional details.

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Questions about Breeds Questions

Which breeds are detected by the Wisdom Panel® tests?

The Wisdom Panel® 2.0 and 2.5 database covers over 200 different breeds. The Wisdom Panel® 3.0 test covers 250+ breed, types and varieties. For a full list of breed detected by test type, please visit:
http://www.wisdompanel.com/breed_count_matters/breeds_detected/

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Can Wisdom Panel identify the breeds in a dog that was born outside the U.S.?

The Wisdom Panel tests have been developed using genetic markers from American Kennel Club (AKC) breeds and some non-AKC breeds in the U.S., as well as, purebred dogs from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. Through the course of our test development, we have observed that certain breeds sometimes have quite different genetic breed signatures in different geographical regions, particularly with comparison to the same breed in Europe or Australia. Due to these geographic variations, Wisdom Panel is only offered in the appropriate geographical areas. We have also tested dogs from Mexico and the Caribbean, but these are performed on a case-by-case basis and the results may be difficult to interpret without the appropriate population information from those regions.
 
In order to assure we maintain the quality and accuracy of our test results, before we can extend the Wisdom Panel tests to new countries, we have to collect and analyze DNA from a large number of dogs in every breed from each new geographic location. For more information, please contact us at customercare@marsveterinary.com.

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Does Wisdom Panel test for “Pit-bull”?

The term "Pit-bull" is a bit of a misnomer and does not refer to a single, recognized breed of dog, but rather to a genetically diverse group of breeds, which are associated by certain physical traits. Pit-bull-type dogs have historically been bred by combining guarding-type breeds with terriers for certain desired characteristics. As such they may retain many genetic similarities to their original breeds and other closely related breeds.

Due to the genetic diversity of this group, Mars Veterinary cannot build a DNA profile to genetically identify every dog that may be visually classified as a Pit-bull. When these types of dogs are tested with Wisdom Panel, we routinely detect various quantities of the component purebred dogs including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Boxer, Bulldog, and various other Terriers. Additionally, there are often other breeds outside of the Guard and Terrier groups identified in the mix depending on each dog’s individual ancestry.

Some local communities in the U.S. have put restrictions on Pit-bull ownership. Mars Veterinary encourages dog owners and care providers to be fully aware of their local laws, which vary across the country.

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Does Wisdom Panel test for wolf or coyote?

Only Wisdom Panel® 3.0 covers testing for the wolf and coyote wild canids. For a full list of breeds detected by test time please visit: http://www.wisdompanel.com/breed_count_matters/breeds_detected/
 

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Can regulatory/animal control officials use the Wisdom Panel to determine whether breeds are legislated or banned in a particular community?

Wisdom Panel® 2.0 is designed and intended to be used solely to identify the breed history of a dog and no other purpose is authorized or permitted. Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 are intended to be used to identify the breed history of a dog, as well as screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation and no other purpose is authorized or permitted.

Wisdom Panel tests are not intended to predict behavior in any particular dog. Each dog is unique and its physical and behavioral traits will be the result of multiple factors, including: genetics, training, handling, and environment.
 

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Science-based Questions Questions

What disease screening is available in the Wisdom Panel tests?

For many years now the Wisdom Panel has provided genetic mutation tests through our veterinary products and now, for the first time, we are including one of these important tests in our at-home swab product. The MDR1 Gene Mutation Test, licensed from the Washington State University for use by Mars Veterinary, is Included in the Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 tests.

This mutation in the MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 gene is found in many of the herding breeds. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion of many drugs used in dogs.

Some dogs, particularly herding breeds or mixed-breed dogs with herding breed ancestry have a mutation in the MDR1 gene. Dogs with this mutation are unable to limit the absorption and distribution of many drugs. These dogs are also slower to eliminate drugs from the body that are transported by the P-glycoprotein. As a result, dogs with this mutation may have adverse reactions to some common drugs, so it is important to test your dog and share your results with your veterinarian so they can provide you with the best possible care. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe lower doses of certain medications or avoid some medications entirely if your dog is positive for the MDR1 mutation.

NOTE ABOUT MIXED BREEDS AND MDR1:
Our tests look for the presence of purebreds in your dog’s heritage back to the great-grandparent level. Just because we don’t find a pedigree herding breed in your dog’s last three generations, however, doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have one further back in their ancestry. Therefore, even mixed breed dogs should be tested for the MDR1 mutation. The results of this test can give owners with mixed-breed ancestry important information to share with their veterinarian or better yet, peace of mind.
 

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Scientifically, how did we get to the point to where we can identify the breed makeup of a dog?

The Wisdom Panel tests are the result of years of extensive research and draws on the expertise of scientists at the internationally respected Waltham® Centre for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom, along with leading veterinarians, universities, and breed organizations throughout the world.
 
The Wisdom Panel tests are based on three main factors:
  1. Genetic markers: These are the places of variation in a dog's genetic structure. By studying both the similarities and differences in these markers among different breeds, we are able to determine characteristic signatures. During Wisdom Panel test development we completed over 19 million genetic marker analyses and typed over 13,000 dogs. This is important because careful studies are needed in order to properly find the places of variation that make each breed unique. All of these calculations require a very advanced computer program that can analyze all of this data and identify the breeds in each dog.
  2. Numbers and types of dogs: This is the database we refer to that is used to compare your dog's DNA against other breeds. The more breeds, the better the test. Wisdom Panel® 2.0 and 2.5 tests for over 200 different breeds and varieties and Wisdom Panel® 3.0 tests for 250+ breed, types, and varieties.
  3. Validation testing for accuracy: This includes repeated testing of a dog’s sample and review by independent third party specialists, geneticists, and leading authorities on canine genetics. All of the Wisdom Panel tests are run in a USDA-accredited laboratory to ensure proper quality control.

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What happens to my Wisdom Panel sample at the laboratory?

Once your sample is received at our lab it is scanned into our database and assigned to a batch for testing. DNA is extracted from the sample and then analyzed for the 321 markers that are used in the tests. The results are sent to a computer that evaluates them using a program designed to consider all of the pedigree trees that are possible in the last three generations. The trees considered include a simple pedigree with a single breed (a likely pure-bred dog) all the way up to a complex tree with eight different great-grandparent breeds allowed. Our computer uses the information from our extensive breed database to assign the breeds present within these potential pedigrees.
 
For each of the millions of ancestry tree combinations built and considered, the computer gives each a score representing how well that selected combination of breeds matches to your dog’s data. The pedigree with the overall best score is selected and provided in your dog’s individualized report. It normally takes 2-3 weeks from the time a sample is received for the genetic testing and analysis to be completed.
 
In addition to breed ancestry, the Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 tests screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation. MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 is a genetic mutation found in many of the herding breeds. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion of many drugs used in dogs.
 
Some dogs, particularly herding breeds or mixed-breed dogs with herding breed ancestry have a mutation in the MDR1 gene. Dogs with this mutation are unable to limit the absorption and distribution of many drugs. These dogs are also slower to eliminate drugs from the body that are transported by the P-glycoprotein. As a result, dogs with this mutation may have adverse reactions to some common drugs, so it is important to test your dog and share your results with your veterinarian so they can provide you with the best possible care. For example, your veterinarian may prescribe lower doses of certain medications or avoid some medications entirely if your dog is positive for the MDR1 mutation. This mutation is sometimes referred to as "ivermectin sensitivity’ though this name is a misnomer since many other medications are affected by the MDR1 mutation.

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Why can it take so long to process a Wisdom Panel sample?

The Wisdom Panel tests are some of the most advanced genetic analyses commercially available at this time. The full process to extract the DNA, identify your dog’s DNA markers, and analyze the results against the extensive Wisdom Panel breed database, and in the case of the 2.5 and 3.0 tests, for the MDR-1 genetic mutation, is done in a very deliberate and careful manner. This normally takes up to 2-3 weeks to be completed from the time a sample is received at the lab. For a full description of the process, please see FAQ "What happens to my sample at the laboratory".

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Is the Wisdom Panel breed detection analysis at all similar to the kind of DNA analysis people can undergo to find out their ancestry? Does mitochondrial DNA or Y-chromosome DNA come into play in the analysis? How are the 321 genetic markers determined?

Wisdom Panel has some technological similarities to the DNA analysis that people use to determine their ancestry, but there are major differences in what each analysis is looking for. Wisdom Panel tests are designed to detect the presence of purebred dogs in the most recent ancestry of a dog going back about three generations to the great-grandparent level. In contrast, most human ancestry tests are designed to detect the proportion of the tested individual that comes from historical, racial, or defined population groups many generations ago.
 
Wisdom Panel only uses what are called autosomal DNA markers, chromosomes that contain most of the genetic instructions for every canine’s body make up (height, weight, size etc.). There are no markers from either of the so-called sex chromosomes (the canine X or Y chromosomes). Mitochondrial DNA, or Y-chromosome DNA testing, is rather different as these parts of the genome are passed on intact from mother to child and father to son respectively, but are therefore only representative of either the female or the male lineage. Autosomal DNA is inherited both from the maternal and paternal lineages equally. It is constantly shuffled by a process called recombination at each successive generation, and therefore it is able to provide more useful information on the breeds found on both sides of a dog’s lineage.
 
To find the genetic markers that performed best at distinguishing between breeds, Mars Veterinary tested over 4,600 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms or genetic markers, where genetic variation has been found between different dogs), from positions across the entire canine autosomal genome from over 3,200 dogs. To further refine the search, Mars Veterinary determined the best 1,536 genetic variations and ran them against an additional 4,400 dogs from a wide range of breeds. This stage of testing resulted in the selection of a final panel of DNA markers that performed best at distinguishing between breeds, ultimately creating the Wisdom Panel genetic database. This database presently covers over 250 total breeds, types, and varieties. For a full list of breeds detected by test type visit: http://www.wisdompanel.com/breeds/.

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Do breed signatures differ from commonly understood notions of recessive and dominant genes? It seems that the presence of a breed signature doesn't necessarily imply a similar physical appearance?

Physical appearance (predominantly determined by genes that influence the development of canine size and body mass, coat length, type and color, skull shape, leg length, ear and tail types), is known to be controlled by a very small number of genes relative to the overall number of genes contained in the canine genome (~20,000 or so in total). These genes can have both recessive and dominant variants and the variants present determine the physical traits seen. The presence of breed signatures does not guarantee that the dog will look like all detected breeds.
 
The Wisdom Panel breed signatures are defined by markers that are consistent with the presence of a particular breed in the background of a tested dog. However, these markers were not chosen to specifically cover the genes responsible for specific trait determinations from those breeds, as many markers are instead found in the parts of the genome that do not result in an outwardly apparent trait. Therefore, a mixed-breed dog could be a mix of three or four breeds, but have few traits evident from one or more of these breeds.
 
There are a number of examples where traits in the parents or grandparents are not necessarily evident in the offspring. Consider eye color in humans, for example. Brown eye color is dominant over blue and green eye colors, and yet, a brown-eyed mother can have a green-eyed child if she does not pass on the dominant brown eye color variant. Another example of the surprising effects you may see when mixing breeds, is to look at some of the designer dogs. So called designer dogs are custom combinations of two different pure breeds. Puggles, for example, are crosses between Pugs and Beagles, and labradoodles are crosses between Poodles and Labrador Retrievers. Often these designer dogs will look quite different to the two founder breeds, because they are a mixture of two very different sets of genetic backgrounds.

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I don’t think my dog looks like the breeds detected in the Wisdom Panel analysis. Can you help me understand this?

Many parts of the canine genome are likely to be unobservable or hidden with regard to trait determination. Simply put, a mixed-breed dog could be a mix of 3 or 4 breeds but have few traits evident from one or more of these breeds. We often see this effect in people too, where a brown eyed mother can have a blue-eyed child or where two people who both have brown hair have a child with red hair. Another example of the surprising affects you may see when mixing breeds, is to look at some of the designer dogs. So called designer dogs are custom combinations of two different pure breeds. Puggles, for example, are crosses between Pugs and Beagles, and labradoodles are crosses between Poodles and Labrador Retrievers. Often these designer dogs will look quite different to the two founder breeds, because they are a mixture of two very different sets of genetic backgrounds.

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How does Wisdom Panel analyze a dog’s DNA data to make a final breed determination?

All breed determinations are made by our patented computer algorithm. With each tested dog’s DNA, more than seven million repetitive comparisons are made using a complex statistical algorithm. This algorithm scans the 321 genetic markers collected and looks for matches to breed signatures. It provides a marker by marker certainty score for each breed match. The computer then selects the single best combination of breeds and relative amounts of breeds detected that best match the tested DNA sample from this comparison with our extensive database of purebred signatures.

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Many dog breeds are derived from other, older breeds. Could Wisdom Panel sometimes mistakenly detect some of the originating breeds instead of the newer AKC recognized breed?

Some breeds are relatively new; created by mixing other established breeds together more recently. When this happens, some ancestral similarities may remain in certain chromosomal regions. This makes it possible to have breeds that have been combined in the formation of a new breed to potentially be detected as matches at certain markers in the Wisdom Panel when a dog of the new breed is tested. If this occurs, this would most likely be reported as trace amounts of the ancestrally related breeds.

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What would happen if a dog has a breed not presently covered by the Wisdom Panel database?

The Wisdom Panel tests are designed to find the best matches to over 250+ breeds, types, and varieties (200 for Wisdom Panel® 2.0 and 2.5 and 250+ for Wisdom Panel 3.0) in our database including all AKC recognized breeds. Occasionally there may be a breed that is not presently covered by the Wisdom Panel database in which case, the results will depend upon the genetic relatedness of the tested dog to the breeds available in our database. For example, a Dutch Shepherd (closely related genetically to the Belgian Shepherd dog, but not covered by the Wisdom Panel) might result in a report that contains some amount of Belgian Shepherd dog. For a full list of breeds detected by test type visit:
http://www.wisdompanel.com/breeds/
.

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Certain breeds have their ears cropped, tails docked, and their dew claws removed. Although this is a breed standard, why do your test results not show the both the breed standard and the un-docked/cropped/etc. version to help owners better understand the make-up of their pet?

Mars Veterinary follows the guidelines of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in its breed identification. As such, the AKC recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health. This is why we have chosen to represent dogs in this way in our test results report. We recognize that dogs have many differentiating features. Our intent is to capture the most readily recognized and widely understood attributes in our results reporting. We encourage pet owners to submit photos of their dogs to our
Dog Community Center
to illustrate the interesting variations to the standard. You can find the full list of dogs that are cropped, docked, or whose dewclaws are removed on the AKC website.

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Are the Wisdom Panel tests FDA approved?

At this time, the FDA does not regulate genetic tests for companion animals, so there is federal requirement for FDA approval on Wisdom Panel tests. However, all Wisdom Panel testing is run in an USDA accredited laboratory to ensure proper quality control. Additionally, throughout the ongoing development of our canine genetic science, we are continuously peer-reviewed and audited by an independent body of experts that comprise leaders in their respective fields. Mars Veterinary continues to work with them to ensure world-class science is delivered.

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About Mars Veterinary, Mars, Incorporated and WALTHAM® Questions

Who is Mars Veterinary?

Mars Veterinary is a business unit of Mars Petcare. Our mission is facilitating responsible pet care by enhancing the well-being and relationship between pets, pet owners, and veterinarians through valuable insights into pets as individuals.

For nearly a decade, Mars Veterinary has researched and developed state-of-the-art genetic tests for purebred, designer and mixed-breed dogs, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By discovering a dog's ancestry, pet owners and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of the owner’s unique dog.
 

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Why is Mars, Incorporated involved in canine genetics?

Mars, Incorporated, a company known for innovative consumer and pet food brands that are trusted by people around the world, has been deeply involved with canine genetics for many years. As one of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world, Mars, Incorporated has consistently provided innovation in products that meet the needs of pets and owners.

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When were the Wisdom Panel® canine DNA tests launched?

The Wisdom Panel® canine DNA test was first launched in 2007 with the Wisdom Panel® MX, a blood-based test administered by veterinarians that helped determine a dog’s recent breed ancestry. Additional genetic disease screens were added to the test and launched in the veterinary market as Wisdom Panel® Professional in 2009.  Our first cheek swab-based test called Wisdom Panel® Insights was brought to the consumer market that year as well.

In 2011, the researchers at Mars Veterinary developed additional tools to answer specific questions about purebred and first-generation crossbred dogs which were included in Wisdom Panel® Purebred and Wisdom Panel® Designer Dog. In 2013 Wisdom Panel® 2.0 was launched which combined all the aspects of our mixed and purebred tests into a single, convenient test. Most recently in 2015, Mars Veterinary launched the Wisdom Panel® 2.5 and 3.0 tests which incorporate the valuable MDR-1 genetic mutation screening and can be done by the consumer at home though a simple cheek swab process. For a full list of products and to compare features, please see our Product Comparison Guide.

For those interested in running the professional, blood version of the DNA test, this test is performed with your veterinarian. The test is now available through our professional partners, Royal Canin® and Banfield® Pet Hospitals. You can visit their respective sites, www.royalcaninGHA.com and www.banfield.com to find a vet near you that carries the professional version of the test.
 

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What is the relationship between Mars Veterinary and WALTHAM®?

Mars Veterinary draws on work carried out at the Waltham® Centre for Pet Nutrition, the world’s leading authority on pet care and nutrition, as well as the expertise of respected veterinarians, universities and breed organizations throughout the world.

Located in rural Leicestershire, England, the renowned Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has been a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and well-being, advancing the frontiers of humane scientific research into the nutrition and healthy longevity of companion animals for over 30 years.

Their state-of-the art research program focuses on the nutritional and behavioral needs of companion animals and develops products which meet these needs in a practical way. It is Waltham that provides the science behind the world-leading Mars pet care companies. Waltham has a leading reputation among pet owners, breeders, veterinarians and academics alike.
 

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