Merle Testing Information

Tilia Labs (formerly Vemodia) will identify and report 7 alleles on the
M Locus - 

Mh, M, Ma+, Ma, Mc+, Mc and m.

Cost - 47/Euro - Approximately $55/US

Exact base pair numbers will be reported on results.

Non-Merle -              m - Wild Type

Cryptic Merle -          Mc     200 - 230 bp

                                          Mc+   231 - 246 bp

Atypical Merle -        Ma     247 - 254 bp

                                          Ma+  255 - 264 bp

Merle -                          M       265 - 268 bp

Harlequin Merle -    Mh      269 - 280 bp

This diagram will provide a good visual of where the alleles fall on the scale of Merle

Tilia's testing also allows for the identification of a "mosaic" result - 3 or more alleles on the M locus, due to a shortening of an allele early in embryo development.

The following is an example of a dog who is a "Mosaic Merle".
You will notice that the Mc allele has a shorter peak - this is referred to this as the "minor" allele - the allele with the least percentage of cells present in the sample material.
This dog should have tested as m/M from her parents, however the M mutated (shortened) early in embryo development and created some cells that include Mc.
This "minor" allele on a mosaic test will be reported using square brackets [**].

Here is a m/[Mc]/M - m/[208]/265 result on a Catahoula.

This diagram explains the mechanism behind this Mosaic result.

Tilia homepage for registering an account.

You may also order a test without setting up an account by using the following link.

Note - Chip Number, Tattoo Number and Identification are required fields - if none apply then the fields can be filled in with "n/a". 

Tilia does not send a sample kit. They will accept blood, dew-claws/docked tails or 3 buccal swabs. Swabs can be purchased from most pharmacies or your vet.
Q-tips can also be used.

As well hair samples can be sent - on my very short coated dogs I use tweezers to pull hairs from 2 or 3 different areas of the body - approximately 30 hairs including roots are required and enclose in a small paper envelope. Plastic baggies are not preferred as the static makes it difficult to remove the hairs.
Here is video from Karen Smiley Combs pulling hair from her Aussie -

Samples can be sent by regular mail in a letter size envelope using an international stamp.

5. května 44
273 08 Pchery
Czech Republic

You will be invoiced after your results have been received via email.
Payment can be made using PayPal -

Example of Test Order

Select Your Breed
Select Your Breed
Enter Animal Information - Chip # - Tattoo # - ID - Must all be filled in with something.
Enter Animal Information - Chip # - Tattoo # - ID - Must all be filled in with something.
Enter Owner/Breeder Info
Enter Owner/Breeder Info
Select Merle Test at Bottom of Page
Select Merle Test at Bottom of Page