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June 29, 2007

Have a "Heinz 57?" DNA Can Determine Ingredients

Decoding the secret lives of dogs

DNA testing used to study disease and confirm pedigrees is also being used to reveal which breeds make up a mutt's background.
By Karen Kaplan, Times Staff Writer
June 24, 2007

The Wilson family had puzzled over their mutt Drake's distinctive behavior ever since they brought him home from the Washington Animal Rescue League four years ago.

Workers at the shelter told them the dog was a mix of spaniel and Plott hound. But his propensity to leap over 4-foot fences and herd family members as if they were livestock had them thinking border collie.

The answer to Drake's past came in the form of a $65 DNA test that promised to scour his genes for telltale signs of the breeds in his family tree. "We were always curious as to what breeds went together to create him," Marcy Wilson said. "We just assumed we could never find out."

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