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The science behind AnimalBiome

Unless you’re a scientist, you probably are unaware what happens in the 4-6 week period between sending your sample to us and seeing your pet’s results. Here’s a short summary of what happens:

First, when we receive your pet’s sample, we use our laboratory facilities to extract the DNA from all the bacteria in the sample. The fecal sample we ask for is about the size of a sunflower seed. Unless it is a particularly hairy poo, it will contain roughly one billion bacterial cells. We take the combined DNA from all those bacterial cells, and we amplify a small region from each of them called “16S.” Think of this as a barcode. We collect each bacterium’s barcode.

Next, we take all those barcodes, and we sequence as many of them as we can. Thousands of them. Picture reaching into a bag of candy and pulling out pieces at random. After a few handfuls, you will have a pretty good idea what the most common pieces of candy are. After a few hundred handfuls, you can start to use statistics to say with pretty strong confidence what the general proportions are of each candy piece. That is the raw data that AnimalBiome gets from your pet’s sample.

We then use powerful analytic software to interpret those thousands of barcodes and provide the data to you in a simple dashboard. We hope you enjoy playing with your pet’s data.


This is Holly Ganz, our CEO, processing DNA from poo