Home Page Forums Darwin’s Ark Genetic diversity results + health issues questions

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    Hi, I was very excited to get the email about my dog Beau’s results! I am curious about the diversity note, he is a standard poodle and I know there has been a lot of work on genetic diversity by UC Davis in the breed as well as some other breeds. I am curious how you measure diversity and how it compares to other methods like the UC Davis VGL/Better Bred and Embark’s genetic COI

    Also off topic from that, is there a way to note likely genetic conditions? I know that isn’t the main focus of your research, but Beau has copper storage disease which is rare to be able to have a solid diagnosis of but in other breeds is known to be genetic. My other dog Gander also has suspected to be inherited juvenile cataracts.

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    jessica hekman

    Thanks for checking in!

    Genetic diversity is a complex measurement. The results we are returning as part of breed ancestry are really a brute force overview and NOT something that should be used to make any assumptions about the dog’s actual genetic diversity overall. We are currently exploring the possibility of providing better diversity results, but there are some technical hurdles to overcome first.

    (For the nerdy among you: in order to really say if it is surprising that a dog is homozygous at a particular allele, we have to know the frequency of both versions of that allele in the general population. For example, if 99% of dogs have exactly the same version of a particular gene, and it is super rare to have a different version, then we don’t want to ding a dog as “less diverse” for having two identical copies of that gene. So right now we’re working on getting the frequency of various alleles throughout a large sample of dogs. A really large sample… so the computation time is on the order of months. So that’s where that project stands!)

    As for genetic conditions, we are not returning information about those, because we don’t feel comfortable with the validity of the tests available. We are working on giving everyone more information about their dogs beyond just breed – we’re hoping in the next few months to have more results back.


    Thanks for the prompt reply! For the second part I had meant more a way to let you know of diagnosed issues, not to get any results back but for you to have record if you say got funding for a particular condition (like exploring Wilsons Disease in humans so seeking out dogs with copper storage)

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    jessica hekman

    Oh I see – sorry, I should have read more closely! We are all a little frantic today keeping up with all the mail about breed results being in.

    So, at the present time we don’t have any way to store or work with that information. But we are actively working on building a way for folks to give us that information through the website. So stay tuned! We do hope it will happen in 2019.

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