Choosing a genetic test provider can be daunting. This short article helps you to consider what is important to you, and your dogs, in finding the right test provider for you.
Choosing a Genetic Test Provider
- Does the GTP have any formal national or international accreditation?
- Does the GTP provide breeding advice, or can they refer me to help? (not always important, but if you’re a beginner, it can be helpful!)
- What steps does the GTP take to make sure that test results are accurate, and if they make mistakes, how do they fix them?
- Does the GTP support research, have publications, work directly with Breed Clubs…?
- Will they answer questions about test results?
- Do they have actual scientists, veterinary scientists, and/or geneticists working for or with them?
- Can I phone them? Email only?
- Do I feel confident that the tests offered are based on good science, and applicable to my dog?
- Is it important to have a provider or service in my country, or in my preferred language?
Aren't all test providers the same?
There are a lot of different choices of genetic test providers (GTPs), so choosing one that is trustworthy and also providing the service you need, can be daunting. Currently, there is no single international standard that covers the quality of tests provided, how tests are performed, or how test results are reported, and genetic advice/counselling. This means that very robust test providers can initially be hard to pick out from the crowd. Even though there isn’t an international “approved” stamp for canine DNA test providers, you can still look at what steps test providers take to demonstrate their commitment to providing a robust service. The Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs project catalogues a wide-variety of ways that genetic test providers (GTPs) can describe the different kinds of systems and practices they have in place to provide their service.
You should think about:
How can the HGTD database help?
The database answers these questions by working with GTPs to publish transparent information about how to contact a GTP, where they are located, information on their staff and experts, accreditation, quality assurance, sample handling quality, research, and much more. You can also see general information about the phenes (diseases or attributes) that are being tested for.
Key to choosing the right provider is understanding what your needs are, and what quality measures assure you that you are getting the service that provides you with the information to make informed decisions for your dog, based on accurate test results.
You can read more in Getting Started with Testing