39andRufus: Genetic Testing for Pets

The Editors

Inside Edition reported this week on the availability of genetic testing for dogs.  But the tests mostly serve the purpose of upsetting owners who find out that their man's best friend isn’t the pure bred man's best friend they thought it was.    We did some research and found some genetic testing for dogs and other animals that had pet owners much more enthusiastic.


A company called 39andRufus recently announced that since the Food and Drug Administration for Animals (FDAA) had relaxed their stance on genetic testing, they would begin offering the following:

-The FIDO gene reveals the likeliness of a dog to be faithful to its owner.  Most dogs have the dominant gene here, and the company suggests that owners of dogs with the recessive type will no longer hound themselves about their hounds being promiscuous with other owners.

-The C-APOE gene is the canine version of the human APOE gene, a strong indicator for Alzheimer’s.  Dog owners already know well that when their pets age, the likeliness of running for the ball in the game of Fetch and then, forgetting about the game, running away and peeing on a tree or chasing a child happens all too often.  “Be prepared,” runs the company slogan for the test.  

-The Wisdom Panel.  “Dogs can’t talk, but their DNA can,” says the packaging of this test for an entire panel of genes.  Testing includes the CGIQ gene or the Canine Genetic Intelligence Quotient and the 1v2, or the one versus two ears up.  How wise is your dog?  Swab his or her cheek and find out.


Does your cat really hate you, or just hate you?  Felinity.com is now offering a genetic test for cats based on the HISS gene.  HISS1 is the wild type allele and is still dominant in many house cats.  But the company blog says that more and more cats are testing with the mutation, HISS2.  This second allele indicates that your cat will really hate your bloody guts.  The wild type--apparently the most sought after by pet owners who are willing to dump cats they don’t want-- indicates that your pet “feigns indifference.”   Felinity.com quotes a cat genetics expert who explains, “just because your cat tests positive for the wild type doesn’t mean that it doesn’t tolerate you or have some very mild form of affection.”

One customer who recently used the test said, “I just like knowing.  Now I know for sure that my cat can’t stand me.  Doesn’t mean I don’t love her.  In fact, that makes me love her more.”

The test can also be used for pairing cats up in the case an owner wants more than one.  Just like with the British dating app, Hater, cats who really hate their owner may do best together.


Have your parrot tested today for a gene common to many talking birds.  If your pet bird tests positive for TTP or Tell Truth to Power genotype,  you may have to put your bird in the back room when company comes over.  Parrots with the TTP gene have been known to reveal their owners' age and and weight without any warning.


Bees usually aren’t pets.   But beekeepers have been tracking the genetics of the honey bee for decades.  The latest test out:  SB or Showy Behavior.  Order the SB test to find out why some bees hover over your food and then disappear and why others hover over your food, do a little dance in your face, and then disappear.  The amazing modern world we live in!


Everyone loves themselves a cute little gerbil.  Because the lovable rodents are so easy to get rid of if you don’t want them anymore, genetic testing has boomed for gerbils.  Adorable Genetics has partnered up with some pet supply shops who will even sell you the pet with its genetic profile worked out in advance.     There are the endurance versus sprint runners. (Surely it was the endurance type who got Richard Gere into trouble.)  There are gerbil genotpyes who eat from left to right, and those who go right to left, and those who do the zizag left to right and back to left, and those who do the left to right then left to right again, and then those who go up and down, and then those who go . . .  there's basically 180 types for eating.  There are the flippers who do backward somersaults.  And the sleepers who don’t have to be kept in a cage at all--just throw a piece of lettuce or other wet garbage on the bed or to the floor.

“It’s a wonderful use of modern technology,” said Stanford pet geneticist, Mike Wonderbee.  “Pets are awesome test subjects.  People were just too complicated for me--not their genetics.  That was easy.  It's the afterwards part.    Because you can’t get rid of your dad if he tests positive for the APOE gene.”

Other Pets

There are more, but we can’t stop watching gerbil videos....