The DNA testing industry has grown exponentially over the past few years as more and more people become interested in their ethnic background. If you have ever wondered about your canine companion’s background, now you can find that out too.
Embark Veterinary gives pet owners, breeders and veterinarians an opportunity to learn about the ancestry and the disease risks of dogs. It helps owners with preventative care and gives breeders enough knowledge about which dogs shouldn’t be mating. It can also help identify rescue dogs and mutts. Embark’s founders are hoping the company can help both pet owners and vets understand how dogs’ genetics affect their overall mental and physical health.
The company says that its dog DNA test can identify more than 175 breeds, including wolf, coyote, and village dog ancestry. They can even distinguish where the village dogs come from. (Village dogs are the free-breeding “outdoor” dogs common in some areas of the world.)
“We want doggie DNA testing to be not something you do just for fun, but we want to use it to push the whole field forward,” said co-founder Adam Boyko. “There’s a research utility for discovering new genetic associations and advancing the field of canine genetics.”
There is obviously a market for this information, as Embark Veterinary raised $4.5 million this week from investors, including the founder of the human genetics testing site 23andMe. It had previously raised $2 million.
“This new funding lets us expand our research to end preventable disease in dogs—and expand partnership talks with companies that can help us translate that research into advances for human health,” said co-founder Ryan Boyko.
Embark launched in Austin in 2015, and is currently partnered with Cornell University to test over 200,000 genetic markers to help owners better understand their dog’s health. The Dog DNA Test Kit tells you where your dog comes from and if they have a genetic variant of more than 100 inherited canine diseases. Due to the additional funding, Embark can now move its headquarters from Austin to Boston.
Each tests costs $199 and includes free shipping.