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Has anyone used this? Reliable and accurate? Considering purchasing the breed + health kit. Thanks for any input!

 

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I used Wisdom Panel, which was fun and simple to use, but I wish I'd paid the extra for Embark. I think it has a much larger database and can provide more detailed results.
 

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I happened to be looking at Embark today for a friend, and wish I used it b/c it tests some extra genetic conditions not found by many other labs, plus color coat testing, for only $145. That's a heck of a deal.

Here's a sample of what the results look like on this standard poodle, all in a neatly organized pages. Click link below to see Luna's page:

 

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Thank you both! I think we'll buy it, I'd really like to see her health profile, and now there's a $20 off coupon. I appreciate the feedback, great to know others have used similar canine DNA testing.
 

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We got my sister one of the embark breed+health kits for her dog. The results were very interesting, and it is good to know he is not a carrier for any major diseases. I also think embark is more reliable than wisdom, though with the smaller breed percentages I take it more as a "group" suggestion. Like my sister's dog is 12% chow according to the test, but I suspect it's shar pei. But they were the same dog breed until somewhat recently, so I would not be surprised if that is easily mixed up.
 

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Has anyone used this? Reliable and accurate? Considering purchasing the breed + health kit. Thanks for any input!

I looked this info up a few months ago:

Regarding breed identification
" "Much depends on the testing entity's sample database:

"While some problems can result in merely underestimating the percentage of mutt’s ancestry that derives from a specific breed, other problems can prevent the correct breed from being identified at all. The most substantial of these problems is the absence of true ancestral breed from the reference dataset (Figure 9). Because breed ancestry is inferred by comparing chunks of mutt DNA to purebred dogs of known breeds, if a breed is absent from the reference dataset, that breed simply cannot be detected, even if it contributed a very large fraction of a mutt’s DNA. This issue will ultimately be solved only through inclusion of reference genomes from recognized breeds; in the meantime, if you are interested in knowing whether your dog has ancestry from a specific rare breed, it is important to make sure your breed ancestry company of choice is able to check for that breed. For those who decide to proceed with ancestry inference even though the breed of interest is known to be absent from the reference set, it is important to keep in mind that the absence of that breed from the list of inferred ancestors provides no information as to whether the mutt truly lacks that particular ancestry.

The mutations selected for genotyping also determine which breed ancestries can be accurately identified in a mixed-breed dog. Genotyping arrays tend to include more mutations present in common breeds. This means that chunks of chromosomes from poodles and German shepherds may be especially easy to identify because many of the mutations common in these breeds are assayed on genotyping arrays. While many mutations could help identify chunks of DNA from rare breeds such as New Guinea singing dogs or Skye terriers, some of these mutations may not be represented on widely-used genotyping arrays, which could make these breeds harder to identify. This problem will eventually be solved by creating breed reference datasets with sequence data, which would allow for the interpretation of many more mutations and would not be biased toward detection of ancestry from specific breeds.

A mutt’s relationship to its purebred ancestors also affects the reliability of breed determination. In particular, it is easier to identify the breed ancestry of DNA from a purebred ancestor who is a close relative (such as a parent) because mutations from recent ancestors will reside in longer chunks of DNA with more informative mutations. For example, while the first mutation observed on a mutt’s chromosome may be common in both Labradors and Golden Retrievers, perhaps the first, second, and third mutations observed are only seen together in Golden Retrievers. DNA contributed by ancestors from many generations back will exist as only short chromosome chunks, with fewer mutations to help identify their contribution to the mutt’s ancestry, making inference more difficult. This issue can be mitigated by using data from sequencing instead of genotyping, allowing for all mutations to be analyzed. However, DNA inherited from many generations back can be in chromosome chunks so short that it will not contain chromosome chunks characteristic of a specific breed, such that the breed’s contributions to a mutt’s ancestry cannot be detected even with whole-genome data (Li et al., 2014)."

quoted from:

How Accurate Are Dog DNA Tests? Insights & Challenges | The IAABC Journal

A level of identification is possible, and will become more accurate as more breeds are entered in the database and by using a different method."


and this link evaluating the health testing


excerpt:
"Popular Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Health Testing Services
Embark

Embark uses a proprietary SNP-chip (single nucleotide polymorphism) that evaluates 200,000 locations across your dog’s genome, allowing for comprehensive results on disease risks and traits, testing for over 160 mutations associated with genetic diseases from DNA acquired through a cheek swab. The company works directly with consumers and in partnership with veterinarians.


The Good: Each mutation is queried two to eight times and examined by a team of geneticists and veterinarians to ensure accuracy. As a research partner of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark is committed to the continued development of the emerging science of genetic health information and shares updated information with consumers as it becomes available.


The Questionable: The mapping of genetic variants to the risk of disease is incredibly challenging and currently based on a nascent science with a lot of noise in the interpretation of the data. As a result, when a dog tests positive for a health risk mutation, owners need to receive these data with skepticism and discuss these results with their veterinarian. While Embark communicates this, it takes a lot of digging to find. The upfront marketing by all of the companies providing this service, lends the impression that their results are much stronger than they actually are.

Wisdom Panel

The health panel offered through Wisdom looks for 3,000 genetic markers, incorporating the MyDogDNA test from Genoscoper Laboratories of Finland. Their mail-in cheek swab tests for breed identification while also screening for the mutations associated with multidrug sensitivity and exercise-induced collapse.


Blood tests that provide breed identification and screening for more than 140 mutations and markers associated with various disorders are available through Banfield Pet Hospital, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and through veterinarians who offer a test from Royal Canin, another Mars Petcare subsidiary.


The Good: The tests for MDR1 are licensed through Washington State University (WSU), which is the only entity licensed to perform stand-alone MDR1 genotyping in the United States. According to WSU: “Unless testing is conducted by Washington State University’s Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory or its licensee Wisdom Health, Washington State University cannot control quality and accuracy of results. Consumers may risk receiving inaccurate results.”


This is particularly important because three different mutations have been associated with this deleterious phenotype, but many genetic-testing companies indicate that they may test for only one. “Thus, a dog declared ‘clear’ for a given gene might still harbor other known, clinically relevant mutations in that gene that the company has not tested for,” according to the paper published in Nature.


The Questionable: If an owner chooses to seek more genetic health information via the blood test route, the testing is guided by a veterinarian at Banfield, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. The blood is then sent to be analyzed by Wisdom, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and the results interpreted for you by that veterinarian at a hospital owned by Banfield – again, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. This represents a possible conflict of interest.


The authors of the paper in Nature highlight the problems that could arise, given the lack of regulation in the industry, saying: “If the test comes back positive, the clinic’s vet might recommend preventive steps, such as specific pet foods (made by the same company), periodic screening tests (performed by the company’s clinical lab), and more-frequent exams (performed at the company’s vet clinics), even though there may be low or no risk of disease in the first place.” "

Popular Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Health Testing Services
Embark

Embark uses a proprietary SNP-chip (single nucleotide polymorphism) that evaluates 200,000 locations across your dog’s genome, allowing for comprehensive results on disease risks and traits, testing for over 160 mutations associated with genetic diseases from DNA acquired through a cheek swab. The company works directly with consumers and in partnership with veterinarians.


The Good: Each mutation is queried two to eight times and examined by a team of geneticists and veterinarians to ensure accuracy. As a research partner of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark is committed to the continued development of the emerging science of genetic health information and shares updated information with consumers as it becomes available.


The Questionable: The mapping of genetic variants to the risk of disease is incredibly challenging and currently based on a nascent science with a lot of noise in the interpretation of the data. As a result, when a dog tests positive for a health risk mutation, owners need to receive these data with skepticism and discuss these results with their veterinarian. While Embark communicates this, it takes a lot of digging to find. The upfront marketing by all of the companies providing this service, lends the impression that their results are much stronger than they actually are.

Wisdom Panel

The health panel offered through Wisdom looks for 3,000 genetic markers, incorporating the MyDogDNA test from Genoscoper Laboratories of Finland. Their mail-in cheek swab tests for breed identification while also screening for the mutations associated with multidrug sensitivity and exercise-induced collapse.


Blood tests that provide breed identification and screening for more than 140 mutations and markers associated with various disorders are available through Banfield Pet Hospital, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and through veterinarians who offer a test from Royal Canin, another Mars Petcare subsidiary.


The Good: The tests for MDR1 are licensed through Washington State University (WSU), which is the only entity licensed to perform stand-alone MDR1 genotyping in the United States. According to WSU: “Unless testing is conducted by Washington State University’s Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory or its licensee Wisdom Health, Washington State University cannot control quality and accuracy of results. Consumers may risk receiving inaccurate results.”


This is particularly important because three different mutations have been associated with this deleterious phenotype, but many genetic-testing companies indicate that they may test for only one. “Thus, a dog declared ‘clear’ for a given gene might still harbor other known, clinically relevant mutations in that gene that the company has not tested for,” according to the paper published in Nature.


The Questionable: If an owner chooses to seek more genetic health information via the blood test route, the testing is guided by a veterinarian at Banfield, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. The blood is then sent to be analyzed by Wisdom, a Mars Petcare subsidiary, and the results interpreted for you by that veterinarian at a hospital owned by Banfield – again, a Mars Petcare subsidiary. This represents a possible conflict of interest.

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I googled "DNA testing standard poodle health", found a link to Versatility In Poodles, vipoodle.org, which listed tests and a link to labs

DNA Test Labs | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals | Columbia, MO
463478


By association, I'd be very comfortable using any lab listed there.
 

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Embark actually has a heath and trait testing only kit that is aimed at breeders. I am aware of a large number of breeders who use those kits and are pleased with them. The newer less well known HealthCheck is a similar large panel genetic heath testing performed by PawPrint labs. This one has been used by a number of poodle breeders in the last year as they have done group discounts for us. I used them for one of my dogs and was pleased at how the results were presented AND even more pleased with how easy it was to contact them and ask questions about a result of a test I had never heard of. Of course if you really want the breed ID also I would highly recommend Embark. Grin they know what a Teddy Roosevelt is while Wisdom Panel tends to call them pit bull mutts... (FYI Teddys are related to Rat Terriers)
 

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Results in! She is 100% poodle (small), which we knew. Embark was correct on almost all of her physical characteristics. She is clear for all genetic conditions for which Embark tests. However, she is 30% inbred and rather to the right of the bell curve, and she tested no diversity to immune responses 1 and 2, making her more susceptible to autoimmunity. 30% seems high. Can someone put this into context? Anyone else’s poodle or other canine test about the same percentage? Thanks!
 

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Results in! She is 100% poodle (small), which we knew. Embark was correct on almost all of her physical characteristics. She is clear for all genetic conditions for which Embark tests. However, she is 30% inbred and rather to the right of the bell curve, and she tested no diversity to immune responses 1 and 2, making her more susceptible to autoimmunity. 30% seems high. Can someone put this into context? Anyone else’s poodle or other canine test about the same percentage? Thanks!
I found Embark's page, Dog Traits List, which includes tabs for the 'No diversity to immune responses 1 & 2'.

It could mean a higher chance of autoimmune conditions (in your dog's case, I would guess these would be specific to toy poodles, not standards), but they also say "these findings have yet to be scientifically validated."

The Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) of 30% is high, but that's not terribly unusual in Poodles.

Here are some articles you and others may find interesting.

What Does COI Mean? - This also address the Wycliffe ancestors, and documented the long lives despite extremely high COI's.

Population Bottleneck - definition

A football field of dogs (health testing…yeah, you know I’m going to stir this pot) - Funny, irreverent, and on point.

A Bit More About Poodles - From the Institute of Canine Biology; the instability of small populations from bottlenecks and elimination of parti-poodles from the gene pool in the show ring, etc.

The effect of genetic bottlenecks and inbreeding on the incidence of two major autoimmune diseases in standard poodles, sebaceous adenitis and Addison’s disease - toy's don't get these conditions as far as I know.

What is % Wycliffe? - brief historical overview.
 

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Thanks, Vita! I didn’t realize 30% IS her COI. I thought I had to further calculate her COI. 30% is so high...especially when you consider the examples given!
 
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