DNA Day 2020: Celebrating a Revolution in Canine Health

April 25th is National DNA Day—the day that marks the discovery of DNA’s double helix by James Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin in 1953, as well as the completion of the Human Genome Project—nature’s first genetic blueprint—just 50 years later. It’s a watershed day in the field of molecular science. And as the world’s leading dog DNA testing service, Embark is celebrating!

After all, these are the discoveries that have made it possible for us to screen for the genetic information linked to canine health outcomes, and work with breeders on research that improves the lives of dogs.

Boning up on the basics  

When Watson, Crick and Franklin discovered DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which holds the hereditary material for almost every organism in a double helix, they identified 4 chemical bases: adenine (A) guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). These bases combine in specific ways to create a blueprint for your dog. Watch our video to learn more. 

Since that discovery, improved understanding of the structure and function of these basic building blocks has given rise to hundreds of thousands of scientific research projects, discoveries and technologies—from recombinant DNA research to the Canine Genome Sequencing Project, which produced the first high-quality draft sequence of a female Boxer named Tasha.

Building on the science

It was one  such research project—a 10-year, Cornell University-sponsored study of the impact of genetic diversity on canine health—that led to the founding of Embark by Adam Boyko, PhD, Chief Science Officer, and Ryan Boyko, CEO.  Now breeders have access to:

  • Improved DNA testing: Using microarray technology, Embark screens over 200,000 genetic markers across your dog’s genome, to test for breed-relevant conditions—all from a simple cheek swab. You can use this information to assess your dog’s susceptibility to specific diseases, predict litter COI and help guide  your breeding program.
  • Expanded genomic research: That genetic data has also helped Embark build the world’s only research-ready database, enabling cutting-edge discoveries, genetic mapping studies and more. The genetic raw data of  Embarked dogs are added to this database and archived for future initiatives. You can freely download your dog’s genetic data and share it with your breed club or send it to researchers. 

Accelerating the results

At Embark, we’re on a shared mission with our breeder community: to end preventable disease in dogs. We’re inspired by your commitment. And we thank you for leveraging Embark’s unique capabilities to advance the discoveries that began on April, 25, 1953. Let’s keep them going:

  • Embark-test your dog—if you haven’t yet done so, DNA Day is the perfect time!
  • Share your dog’s data–respond to surveys and alert Embark about health issues 
  • Reach out for support—Let us help you apply your test results to your breeding program
  • Learn more about DNA—Check out the National Human Genome Research Institute
  • Learn about DNA Day activities—Check out the DNA Day Find Events page.

Want to learn more about Embark DNA testing for breeders? Click here.

 

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