426 – Love is in the Air: Genetic Testing Offers “MatchMaking”

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By Laura Reeves. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Genetic Testing Offers “MatchMaking” Capabilites

Adam Boyko, chief science officer at Embark, joins host Laura Reeves for a science geek out session.

“There's really three important reasons to do genetic testing,” Boyko said. “The first is the health component that you get from genetic testing. In almost every purebred breed there are inherited disorders we can test for today. It's good to get that peace of mind. It's good to know if a dog is a carrier for something if you're planning on breeding it. It's good (for owners) to know if it's at risk or something so you know what to look out for, if there's a special diet you should be feeding it or what sort of environment you should have that dog in.

“Secondarily, you've got genetic traits, which scientists have learned a lot about. So, you might want to know what sort of coat colors the dog carries. If you were to breed it what would you expect the litter proportions to be. It’s also coat type, stature all that kind of stuff.

“Finally, inbreeding. Breeders have really been interested in (this) a lot. They've been traditionally using pedigree-based methods to (measure COI), but now that we have genomic information you can actually much, much more accurately measure inbreeding, to predict inbreeding of different crosses and see the affect that inbreeding has on the health and longevity of dogs. (It’s) another breeding decision that breeders use, another metric, as they're trying to balance all the different things.”

Embark’s new “Matchmaker” tool is now online for select breeds, which allows breeders to select different combinations to determine which one offers the lowest COI, which dog carries or doesn’t for which traits or diseases, and would therefore offer the breeder the ideal mating they are seeking.

Visit Embark’s website for more information on services available for your breeding program.

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