Forum Replies Created
Erika – good question! I don’t know if Embark rounds the numbers from their results, though it would surprise me a bit to see exact 50/50 results like that, so it’s certainly possible that they are.
We use different animals in our breed panel than Embark does, so it’s alternatively possible that your dog is indeed 50% golden and for whatever reason, one of the golden grandparents doesn’t match to golden in our breed panel (maybe it was a golden from an unusual-for-us population – from Europe, or from a line that hasn’t mixed much with others and we don’t have an example of, or something like that).
If this were my dog I think I’d assume the dog is in fact a 50/50 mix but I’d keep in the back of my head that there might be something else going on.
Folks – just wanted to clarify a few things that have been discussed on this thread.
Where part of a dog’s ancestry is marked “unknown,” this is because our computer algorithm honestly failed to match it to a breed. This is most commonly because those parts of the ancestry are so mixed up (lots of little chunks from lots of breeds) that the computer doesn’t have enough info to match it to a breed confidently. (We are hopeful that we’ll do better here when we start using more markers – getting our v2 breed panel up and running is currently one of Kathleen’s highest priorities.)
It is also possible that this is a breed that we don’t have in our panel yet. This is less likely for most dogs because a) we have the most common breeds in there except for American Pit Bull Terrier (which, again, will be in v2) and b) I’ve observed that when we don’t have a particular breed, but there is a large chunk of ancestry, the computer tends to match it to a closely related breed. So when you have Malinois, the computer tends to find German Shepherd. (Mal will also be in v2…)
When you see breed results with really small percentages – under 10% – don’t trust them too much. It’s just really hard for the computer when the bit of ancestry from that breed is so small. This is why, under 5%, we group them all into an “other” category – we don’t want people putting too much stock on those breed calls.
I hope this helps and feel free to ask me questions!
Darwin’s Ark Researcher
Hi Kate. Looking at those results, I bet they were Wisdom Panel, because that panel tends to round results to 12.5%, 25%, or 50%.
Looks like the Bullmastiff is for real! 19.6-25% suggests that one grandparent was a Bullmastiff. The siblings could have gotten slightly different amounts, as Kathleen suggested. Also, the percentages aren’t exact representations of real life, they’re just what our compter analysis gave us. So it’s not too surprising that different computer algorithms from different companies would give slightly different numbers.
30.5% – 50% cattle dog sounds like you have 1 grandparent or 1 parent who is a cattle dog. I’m guessing the latter.
We don’t have American Pit Bull Terrier in our breed panel now, but we will soon. As Kathleen said, we’ll get those results out when the new panel is released. It will be interesting to see if APBT shows up in your dog then.
I’m not sure why the other company found “bull dog” and we didn’t. There are several breeds that are “bull dogs” (English, American, French…) so I’m not even sure which breed they’re referring to. It’s not a completely precise science for sure. Again, it will be interesting to see what our new panel tells you.
Hi, Deanna. We’ll get our developer to take a look and see why too much text is breaking things. Thanks for letting us know.
Yes, I think your understanding of our current focus is correct. We are not depositing sequences into BarkBase, but we are happy to provide them on request and are looking into better ways of making them publicly available.
Hi Deanna. I’m going to answer some of your questions as one of the DA researchers. I’ll let other team members answer some of your other questions.
2) Currently we are looking at some morphological traits (size, coat color), lots of behavioral traits, and focusing on food allergies for health traits. However, we are actively working on developing a health portal so we can start collecting more health info and start studying that. I actually have a meeting about this later this afternoon with another researcher.
3) Genes are linked to phenotypes in studies that go across all the breeds we have. We aren’t currently looking at traits that are breed specific, but if we started looking at some of those, we might focus on specific breeds. What we expect to produce is something like “this mutation in this gene affects this trait,” and we should then be able to say which breeds that mutation appears in, at least in our dataset.
4) Not specifically at this time, but we want to! We are very open to collaboration. And all our data will be freely available to anyone who wants to analyze it.
5) At this point, we’re not looking at health data, so we’re not really looking at stuff that has strong effects. In other words, we don’t currently expect to produce information like “your dog has a very high risk of heart disease.” (If we did produce results like that, we’d tell owners.) We more expect to produce results like “this mutation, along with many many others, affects personality like so,” and since the actual effects of such a mutation on its own would be very low, we probably wouldn’t tell individual owners (it would lead to too much misinterpretation). But who knows! We haven’t published any such mutations yet so who knows how things will work when we do. We do want to start giving more info back – things like the alleles that affect size and coat color – so that’s what we’re focusing on for now.
Feel free to ask questions.
Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD
Darwin’s Ark Researcher
Hi, Stephanie. I took a look at Macy’s results and they look reasonable to me, though I can completely see how they would be surprising. The 30% unknown may well be Carolina Dog. There’s another 30% “other”. The breeds that are in that list are stuck in there because they’re all at less than 5%, which means we don’t really trust that they’re for real. So you can just as well look at her as 60% unknown/possible CD. (It’s debatable whether we should include the breeds that we have low confidence on, but we opted to give folks more information back rather than less.)
For the rest, I’d feel quite confident that she does have a grandparent who was a purebred Collie, leaving her with about 25% Collie. But all in all, she is a mixy-mix, and when you have so many breeds in there, the traits can combine in some really surprising ways. So it isn’t too surprising that she doesn’t really look like one thing or another.
Let me know if you want to talk more about this, either here or by emailing email@example.com and asking them to transfer the mail to me.
Darwin’s Ark Researcher
Hi, Mary! We are working on it – getting APBTs into the next version of our breed panel is an extremely high priority for us. The final dogs we need for that are sequencing now (second pass – they failed sequencing the first time but are being re-run). There will be processing once they’re done. Our hope is to release a new breed reference panel and re-analyze existing dogs in the next 2-3 months. When that happens, we will send emails out to let folks know if their results have changed.
Believe me, the slow time frame is frustrating for us, too!
Darwin’s Ark Researcher
Hi, folks. We ask that you not exchange medical advice on this forum – we don’t want to be responsible for it!
My advice – I’m a vet so this won’t surprise you – is to ask your vet about CBD. If they don’t know, ask for a referral to someone who does. Vets are out there with expertise in this area!
Jessica, Darwin’s Ark Researcher
Yes, you can’t know for sure if it’s true until you SCIENCE IT (and to be fair, often not even then…)
I compared the labs to a lot of other dogs from a variety of breeds – I didn’t do one on one breed comparisons with any other breeds besides German Shepherds (it’s hard to find any other breeds with enough dogs to do that!). So what this suggests is that labs have a personality profile – particular answers that are more likely for them than for purebred dogs in general. I expect the same to be true for other breeds (just, different answers).
So I don’t think it’s that labs are less behaviorally diverse than other breeds (although I haven’t tested that). They are still very behaviorally diverse! But as a breed they are more likely to like water and retrieving and meeting new people than other breeds (as a whole) are.
I hope that helps – let me know if not!
Definitely thank you for letting me know! It’s really nice to know they’re not just going out into a void 🙂
Jennifer – I think you might be surprised at how much of a problem this still is! Researchers are tackling the problem of terminology standards, but very much in advance of clinicians. I suspect your mother would have similar issues today with communicating with many doctors. But at least the standards are getting in place. Maybe eventually they will trickle down to be useful at the patient level.
Great question. Right now we’re just looking at answers as a snapshot in time, and we ask that you NOT update them as the dog ages. (We take into account the dog’s age at the time the surveys were answered.) We do really want to put in place the ability to re-answer over time so we can track how personality changes over time. But we’re not there yet sadly.
Thanks, Kristen! I’m really glad folks are enjoying the updates. This helps incentivize me to post another one today – it’s on my list to do, anyways!
That’s my best guess, too – labs looove food! (Well, most of them do.) In our house, we call this “getting the molecules,” as in “Jenny, are there any molecules of food left on that plate?”