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VIDEO: Inbreeding Explained


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When closely related dogs mate, it is defined as inbreeding. “Inbreeding is the mating of individuals or organisms that are genetically closely related, resulting in increased homozygosity and consequently an increase in the occurrence of recessive traits,” according to Nature. “This can lead to inbreeding depression: reduced biological fitness of the population.”

In this video, our Senior Scientist Aaron Sams talks about inbreeding and how dogs are affected by it. If you’re curious about inbreeding and Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI), watch this quick video for some insight.

“Inbreeding is, simply put, the mating of closely related individuals. More broadly, it is the mating of closely related individuals in a population over many generations,” according to Sams. “In all species that humans have domesticated, some level of inbreeding occurs in order to concentrate desired traits into a breed.”

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 discussion!

Aaron Sams, PhD Scientist

Dr. Aaron J. Sams is a Director of Scientific R&D at Embark. As a member of Embark’s leadership team, he is excited to be working with Embark scientists to conduct research and build products that are impactful to our customers and all dogs. He graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and received an MS and PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison prior to conducting postdoctoral research at Cornell University.

Read more about Aaron Sams, PhD

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