Should you get your pet’s DNA tested? Scientists urge caution

August 6, 2018

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You’ve probably seen an ad for a company that wants to tell you about your genome. Just spit in a tube, send it in, and you can learn about your disease risk.

Now, you can do the same for your pets, at least according to nearly a dozen—and growing—companies on the market. But how accurate are these tests—and why are these businesses not subject to the same regulations as those that analyze human DNA?

Science chatted with Lisa Moses, a veterinarian affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Elinor Karlsson, director of vertebrate genomics at the  Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both are authors on an opinion piece published today in Nature about these and other potential issues with the booming pet genomics industry. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.