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kathleen morrill

I’d like to post this important reminder about genetics and health: DNA tests for health-related genes found in particular breeds may not be predictive of health consequences (see this article for more information). Consulting your dog’s veterinarian is the most important step in managing their health, especially if they are currently sick. Most interactions between genetics and health, in both dogs and people, are unknown. Only through research can we determine the predictive power of current tests and discover new DNA associations that affect dogs across all breeds.

Darwin’s Ark intends to be a platform for that research. We will continue to be open enrollment, as every dog — even those not-yet sequenced — is helping us better understand health and behavior across all dogs. For example, we can determine the frequency of food allergies in dogs, and whether certain environmental factors have influence over traits.

DNA provides another level of information, and has always been contingent on grant funding. The cost of sequencing is the largest limitation. Donations help speed up this process: samples are sent in batches, so the more spaces in a batch funded and filled, the faster the batch is sent for sequencing. So, when someone who funds their dog through the Explorer level, they expedite not only their dog’s sample, but also other samples (Free and Explorer level participants)!