Learn more about genotyping, how testing works, and how your dog's DNA sample is processed!
Your swab is analyzed at our state-of-the-art, CLIA-certified, dog-approved lab facility. At the lab, we extract your pup's DNA and run it on our custom-built genetics chip, which is a proprietary DNA microarray with over 200,000 markers. This chip produces a detailed view of a dog's genome, which we run through our proprietary bioinformatics pipeline—created by the top dog DNA scientists in the world.
About the SNP chip
How did you design your SNP chip? We started with the gold standard canine genotyping platform, the CanineHD SNP chip, and added a number of proprietary probes that specifically queried mutations that affect certain traits and disease risks.
What percentage of the genome does the Embark chip represent?
The markers on our chip are evenly dispersed across the entire canine genome. We query over 200,000 unique genetic sequences. The dog's haploid genome is about 2,500,000,000 base pairs. (Other than the sperm and egg, all other cells in our body are diploid, carrying two copies of our genome.) So we cover about 8% of the genome.
How testing works
Our lab processes the sample by using the same procedures that they employ for human samples—these procedures meet the established guidelines for human DNA testing.
Your dog’s results go through several steps of verification and quality control.
Whenever we see a questionable result, it is hand-checked by our scientific experts. Our algorithms build the story of your dog, one chromosomal segment at a time.
If numbers are your thing, we test about 256 quadrillion—that's 500 million times 500 million—unique genetic ancestry combinations for your dog using the latest technology and science.
And don't worry! While your dog's sample is in the lab, you can track your order online and receive updates and alerts as the sample is processed.
Are the Embark tests FDA approved?
At this time, the FDA does not regulate genetic tests for companion animals, so there is no federal requirement for FDA approval on Embark tests. However, Embark has gone above and beyond, and all testing is run in a CLIA-accredited laboratory to ensure proper quality control. Three federal agencies are responsible for CLIA: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Additionally, throughout the ongoing development of our canine genetic science, we are continuously peer-reviewed and audited by an independent body of experts comprised of leaders in their respective fields. Embark Veterinary continues to work with them to ensure that our science is always world-class.
Can we ever be sure we have found all the bad mutations in a species?
Well, not really. Even between individuals of a breed, you can expect them to be a little different—around 0.01% different—in base pair sequence simply due to spontaneous mutations. Mutations can be bad, but they are also the source of the amazing variation that we see in dogs.
But how can we ever identify all the causative mutations?
Many previous genome-wide association studies for complex diseases, such as hip dysplasia, autoimmune disease, and idiopathic epilepsy, indicate that there are lots of genetic variants working together, not just one variant. These variants result in increased disease risk. In this model, a high-density genotyping platform like Embark's allows us to see linked patterns of mutations, called haplotypes, that are associated with increased disease risk.
You can learn more about how our Dog DNA testing works here: https://embarkvet.com/how-it-works/