Tag Archives: Dog DNA databases

Adopted Family Members Subjected to Genetic Surveillance

OK, the title is misleading, but here’s the poop. Orchid-Cellmark won’t accept samples of feces for forensic DNA analysis, but BioPet Vet Lab, a Knoxville, Tenn., company will check into “PooPrints.” About two dozen apartment complexes around the country have signed up to have DNA from canine residents entered into this “worldwide database” to catch renters who fail to clean up after their pets. [1]

It is not the first database to contain profiles from innocent and guilty dogs alike. The picturesque Italian isle of Capri planned a database to help keep it narrow walkways clean. [2] A city near Tel Aviv, named Petah Tikva, took a more positive approach, testing special trash cans in a poop-filled neighborhood and giving the owners a small reward for database hits. [3] Port Phillip, Australia, relied on a voluntary DNA repository in 1998–along with “other evidence such as eyewitness accounts, photographs and video surveillance.” [4]

In a more serious vein, a thoughtful review of issues in forensic DNA identification in which dogs are a source of evidence can be found in the latest issue of the Croatian Madical Journal. [5]


1. Katie Zezima, Tracing Unscooped Dog Waste Back to the Culprit, with Science, New York Times, July 2, 2011, at A10

2. Capri to Set Up ‘CSI-style’ DNA Database to Catch Owners Who Refuse to Clean up Dog’s Mess, Daily Mail Reporter, Mail Online, April 11, 2011

3. Rebecca Skloot, Dog-poop DNA Bank, N.Y. Times Mag., Dec. 12, 2008

4. Australians Scoop Up Dog DNA, Ariz. Republic, Sept. 26, 1998, at A27.

5. Gunther Scharnhorst & Sree Kanthaswarny, An Assessment of Scientific and Technical Aspects of Canine Forensics DNA, Croatian Medical Journal, 2011, 52: 280-92