Embark Identifies Gene Mutation Responsible for Blue Eyes in Dogs

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Canine DNA company leverages crowd sourced data to make breakthrough scientific discovery

DNA results from Embark-tested Lakota contributed to scientific discovery.

We are just touching the tip of the iceberg in genetic discoveries in our canine companions.

Embark, innovator of the leading DNA test for canine breed identification and health, has made an unprecedented scientific advancement in identifying the genetic mutation responsible for regulating the appearance of blue eyes in dogs. In this first-of-its size study, Embark used the genetic and online survey data of over 6,000 dogs to identify a novel mutation associated with blue-eyes. This is the largest genetic association study in dogs to date, and the first such study utilizing data from direct-to-consumer testing.

Embark customers conducted at home dog DNA tests to learn about their dog’s genetic makeup and volunteered to take part in scientific research by completing online surveys detailing information about their dog’s appearance and health. Embark scientists analyzed this data to hone in on the mutation regulating the appearance of blue eyes. Although blue eyes most often appear in Siberian Huskies, this trait also applies to breeds such as the Australian Shepherds as well as many mixed breed dogs. The variant discovered by Embark is particularly prevalent in Siberian Huskies and explains nearly all the occurrences of blue eyes and heterochromia (multi-colored eyes) in the breed.

“Making this discovery marks an enormous milestone in the capabilities of crowd sourced genetic research in animals besides humans. By working with our own customers’ pets, we have successfully identified the genetic marker for a key canine trait,” said Ryan Boyko, CEO and Founder of Embark. “We are just touching the tip of the iceberg in genetic discoveries in our canine companions. In analyzing crowd sourced data, we will continue to make discoveries that teach us more about the biology of canines in the hopes that someday we will end preventable disease in man’s best friend.”

Embark is currently working to make additional genetic discoveries regarding canine traits and health, with the ultimate goal of ending preventable disease in dogs. Embark, a research partner of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, has a scientific division in Ithaca, New York and is headquartered in Boston, MA. The Embark Dog DNA Test currently tests for over 175 genetic health conditions and traits, as well as over 250 breeds.

For more information about Embark or to find out how to test your own pup for its unique breed makeup, visit http://www.embarkvet.com.

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About Embark
Embark Veterinary, Inc. launched in 2015 with a mission of ending preventable disease in dogs. An Embark dog DNA test enables a pet owner to learn about their dog’s breed, ancestry, health, and more with a simple cheek swab. The company offers the most accurate results by using 100 times more genetic information than any other test available. Pet owners can potentially extend their dog's lifespan by testing with Embark, as the company looks at over 175 genetic health conditions and traits. The company was started by two brothers with years of experience in canine research and is an official research partner with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. For further information, visit Embark’s website at http://www.embarkvet.com, or follow Embark on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Emily Burns
Matter Communications
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