Use code DOGLIFE for up to $40 off plus free shipping
How Dog DNA Testing Works Last Updated:

Embark CSO Explains Genetic Diversity


adam boyko

Genetic diversity refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a certain species. Embark Co-founder and Chief Science Officer Adam Boyko explains genetic diversity and how it affects dogs in the following video. Boyko has traveled to every inhabitable continent to study dogs and is a professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Purebred dogs have been bred into hundreds of different varieties. Dogs throughout history have been bred for different tasks but only recently have we put these dogs in closed breeding populations for pedigree breeding,” Boyko said. “All pedigree dogs descend from a small set of individual founders for that breed and therefore they have limited genetic diversity compared to village dogs and other sorts of natural populations of dogs. Although this limited genetic diversity is necessary to keep purebred dogs breeding pure, too much loss of diversity can be very dangerous.”

Here at Embark, we care about and support healthy breeding. An Embark Dog DNA Test enables a dog owner to learn about their dog’s breed, ancestry, health, COI, and more with a simple cheek swab. With a research-grade DNA genotyping platform, we look at over 250 breeds and more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits. We also provide a family tree that goes back three generations, have veterinary geneticists on staff to answer customer questions, and are partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Embark recently made the first discovery in non-human direct to consumer genomics, which was covered by National Geographic and other publications. Read about our discovery here. Our mission is to end preventable disease in dogs by making more discoveries using our research. If you haven’t yet, click here to order your very own dog DNA test and get to know your pup better than ever before. 


Are you a breeder? Join the Embark for Breeders Discussion group on Facebook and get involved in the conversation! If you have any additional questions about genetic diversity, email us at Thanks for Embarking with us!

Related categories

Dog DNA Testing How Dog DNA Testing Works

Shop dog DNA tests