We use a research grade microarray to analyze over 200,000 genetic markers in our test. This allows us to test back 3 generations (to the great-grandparent level) and generally can go even further back to breeds contributing as little as 5% of a dog’s genome.
Given the importance of DNA test results to the health of not only each dog but also that of future generations of dogs, we believe it’s critical to provide transparency into Embark’s testing methodology and detail how our results are so accurate (above 99.99% accuracy for health tests).
How the test works
Embark’s innovative testing platform is a customized SNP Microarray developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine using the latest research-grade canine genotyping platform. This platform enables the hundreds of genetic health and traits test results provided in Embark’s products.
As a genetic testing platform, microarrays are extremely accurate. Embark ensures their probes are over 99.9% accurate and uses between 3-8 separate probes for every health condition. Because of this redundancy, the overall accuracy rate for each individual health condition test is far above 99.99%.
Our Quality Control
As Embark has grown, we’ve developed processes for the rare occasions where the results of the probes testing the same gene do not match. Embark’s quality control process requires that a secondary analysis be conducted by two independent geneticists to determine what nucleotide is present at the locus in question. The conclusions of both geneticists must agree in order for a result to be provided to the customer.
Embark’s usage of SNP microarrays exceeds industry quality control standards by also checking the breed, sex, and relatives of every sample to ensure DNA samples are correctly labeled and unique identity is recorded. Among other reasons for quality control purposes, this also helps fraud prevention by making it impossible for the same dog to be tested multiple times without Embark knowing. (Note: many non-microarray testing methods do not have this same ability for quality control, and thus errors due to the wrong dog being tested – whether by mistake or on purpose – cannot be detected).
All in all, we are very confident in the accuracy of our results.
To learn more: How we test your dog's DNA